Finances on Divorce / Separation
Often, when a marriage or civil partnership breaks down, one of the most difficult things to deal with is how the assets of the marriage or partnership are going to be divided.
The Law takes into account many factors when deciding who receives which asset, and it can be very complicated and difficult to reach a fair solution. There are, however, different routes that can be taken to deal with division of assets.
If the parties reach a financial agreement, it is possible to draw up a Deed of Separation which sets out the terms of such agreement. A Deed of Separation is a contract between two parties and the agreement incorporated within such a Deed can be enforced by a Court, as long as certain criteria has been met, e.g. both parties have each made to the other full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances. It is very important to obtain legal advice to ensure that any Deed of Separation is likely to be binding.
Very often parties who agree the terms of a financial agreement will enter into a Deed of Separation if there is no basis for divorce at that time or they would prefer to deal with a divorce at a later date, i.e. after they have been separated for a particular period of time. When divorce proceedings are subsequently issued the existence of a Deed of Separation should mean that you will not need to re-visit financial arrangements, those having been set out within the Deed of Separation.
If divorce proceedings have been commenced, a Deed of Separation becomes unnecessary for you or your spouse can ask the Court to make an Order in the terms of your financial agreement. Usually such an Order can be obtained without either of you having to physically attend the Court. If you and your spouse cannot reach a financial agreement, the Court has power to make financial orders and has an obligation to put the welfare of the children first in deciding what orders to make.
At the outset of any financial discussions between you and your spouse, both of you having a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of your financial circumstances to the other. These will include such things as valuations of property, pension details, savings, income and outgoings.
The Court can make various orders:-
- Property adjustment order – a sale or transfer of a property
- Lump sum order – payment of a lump sum of money
- Pension sharing order – dividing pensions
- Periodical payments – maintenance payments from one party to another
There may be more than one option available to divide the family assets and in relation to the payment of maintenance. You need to choose the option that is right for you. We can help you to make that choice and our experienced Family Lawyers can advise and guide you through what is likely to be one of the most difficult aspects of your separation.