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Agreeing a financial settlement during coronavirus lockdown

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Just before the prime minister’s announcement you may have been planning to leave or have just left your husband, wife or civil partner and now you both feel in limbo, caught up in not only a global pandemic but in what feels like a ‘suspended separation’ as whether you managed to physically separate or not from your partner you haven’t sorted out the financial details or agreed a financial settlement. In this blog we look at why now may be an ideal time to work with your family law solicitor and sort out your financial settlement.

Online family law solicitors

As online family law solicitors the expert team of specialist family lawyers at OTS Solicitors can help answer all your family law question and advise you on how to best reach a financial settlement during the Covid 19 outbreak. For financial settlement and family law advice call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form so we can arrange a Skype, video conference or telephone appointment.

Covid 19 and financial settlement negotiations

Many people assume that you can't do anything during the Covid 19 lockdown other than try and do a bit of remote working (if you are lucky enough to have a job that allows you to do that), run around after the children whilst trying to home educate them, queue in the supermarket and fit in a bit of daytime TV. However, it is also possible to use any time at home to reach a financial settlement with your separated husband or wife. That is the case whether you are in the same house or living apart. 

You may think that sorting out your financial settlement is best left until after the end of the coronavirus outbreak but family law solicitors say that most family law clients indicate that they didn’t realise just how much financial sorting out is involved when reaching a financial settlement. Some have described it as almost like ‘’a full time job.’’ So perhaps if you are stuck at home now is the best time to focus on your financial paperwork before you have to return to work and whilst you can't enjoy your normal outdoor activities.

What financial paperwork do I need to sort out my financial settlement?

The financial paperwork you will need to help you reach a financial settlement after a separation or divorce will depend on your personal and financial circumstances.

Whilst you may think that there is no help available to tell you how or where to start sorting out your financial settlement many family law solicitors have now gone online to provide financial settlement advice. A fully online legal service may not appeal to you as you want more than an online support service. The OTS Solicitors family law team are continuing to provide bespoke legal advice but instead of an appointment at our London offices your appointment now take place via Skype, video conference or phone appointment.

That sort of appointment is needed to drill down and see what sort of best financial settlement help you need and the sort of financial paperwork you will need to provide. Family clients and their family law solicitors should ideally work as a team as once your solicitor has identified the paperwork you need the next step is working out who should get it and dividing tasks. If you have got more time on your hands as you are at home then you may be able to get more of the necessary financial paperwork for your family solicitor.

Can I sort out a financial settlement without any financial paperwork?

If you have got time on your hands as you are at home during the coronavirus outbreak then the temptation is to want to achieve something, and if you can't go out or to work, you may be tempted to try and reach a divorce  financial settlement.

Family lawyers caution against doing that without financial paperwork or legal advice because:

  • If you or your husband , wife or civil partner don’t disclose what you have in the way of assets then whatever financial settlement you reach may be open to challenge at a later date because either or both of you haven’t given what is called ‘’full and frank financial disclosure’’
  • In order to obtain a financial court order as part of the divorce proceedings you will both need to fill in a statement of information summarising your incomes, assets and property as well as the value of your pensions. If you don’t complete a financial statement of information the family judge can't make the financial court order requested as they won't be able to decide if the financial court order being sought is fair and reasonable to both of you. It is important to get your financial court order as without that either of you could potentially bring another financial claim at a later date.  

How do you negotiate a financial settlement during the Covid 19 lockdown?

Family lawyers say that there are many ways to negotiate a financial settlement during the coronavirus outbreak without actually leaving the comfort of your own home including:

  • Direct discussions with your ex-partner if you are still sharing a house together or by phone. However, if there are any concerns about your safety don’t speak direct. If there are no safety concerns try and agree a time to speak rather than have continual discussions. Don’t agree to anything without running ideas and options past your family law solicitor
  • Skype or video conference round table meeting between you, your family law solicitor and your husband, wife, or civil partner and their family law solicitor. If you prefer not to be at the roundtable virtual meeting you can leave it up to your family solicitor to negotiate direct with your ex’s family law solicitor
  • If you have already started divorce and financial court proceedings (or decide to do so now) then court hearings may still take place, despite the coronavirus lockdown, but via Skype, video conference or phone. Don’t worry that the court hearing won't work if it is carried out remotely as the family court and family lawyers are used to using digital technology to conduct hearings, for example, when a witness is overseas.

If you are thinking about being in limbo with your divorce or financial settlement then the message is that you aren’t.  There is help available to help you secure the best financial settlement despite the constraints of the coronavirus lockdown.

Online family law services

The specialist family lawyers at OTS Solicitors have lots of experience of working remotely using the latest secure technology. If you need to sort out a financial settlement or need help with a separation or divorce  or need advice on any other aspect of family law call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. We will set up a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment for you with a friendly and experienced family law solicitor.

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