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Divorce On The Cheap

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Research has shown that divorce ‘on the cheap’ puts women at risk of losing out on a fair divorce financial settlement.

In this article, our family law solicitors look at the latest research and explain why a ‘divorce on the cheap’ may cost you more in the long term.

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call the expert London family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

The research on divorce on the cheap

The headline news from the research is that women are compromising their future financial security by not taking specialist family law advice when getting divorced or when negotiating a divorce financial settlement.

The research was not undertaken by family solicitors with their own agenda. The report, the Fair Shares Project, was commissioned and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and the research work was undertaken by Bristol University.

The report concluded that couples are trying to save money by divorcing on the cheap and by negotiating between themselves over:

  • What should happen to the family home - should it be sold or transferred to the husband or wife
  • If one spouse should keep the family business
  • If spousal maintenance should be paid
  • What should happen with pensions

Those are all topics that could have massive financial implications for you if you make the wrong choices. Family law solicitors say it is frighteningly easy to make the wrong choice if you don’t have:

  • Financial disclosure of assets from your husband or wife
  • An understanding of the court powers on divorce
  • An idea of what a reasonable or fair financial settlement may amount to
  • The support of a specialist family law solicitor

The research statistics

The research project found that:

  • One in 10 couples in England and Wales sought no advice or information to help them with their divorce
  • Only 2 out of 5 divorcees made use of lawyers for advice and support
  • Around a third of divorcees did not know the value of their own pension – let alone knowing the value of their husband or wife's pension fund
  • Only 3 in 10 of those who had assets to divide received around 50% of the family assets
  • Just one in 10 divorcees with a pension not yet in payment or draw down agreed to a pension-sharing order as part of the divorce financial settlement

The fear factor

One of the reasons given for not taking expert family law advice was a concern about legal costs. Whilst that is understandable during a cost-of-living crisis it is equally important to remember that the financial settlement you agree on today is forever as you may not be able to change it or only part of it.

For example, if a wife agrees that a husband will keep his pension or the family business or that he will get the family home the deal cannot be renegotiated if it is put into a financial court order unless there was an element of fraud or dishonesty. That’s very hard to prove.

For example, if a wife agrees to spousal maintenance at the rate of £100 a month for 2 years, she may be able to apply to increase the spousal maintenance to more than £100 per month but it may be an uphill battle to persuade a family judge to increase the amount if that was what was agreed and there has not been a significant change in circumstances on the part of the ex-husband or ex-wife. Legally, depending on the wording of the financial court order, it may not be possible to ask the court to extend the spousal maintenance term beyond 2 years.

At OTS Solicitors our family lawyers work very hard to overcome the fear factor. We understand that picking up the phone to speak to a family law solicitor can be intimidating and it can feel rather impersonal to make an online enquiry. All our family team are friendly and approachable and can give you clear and upfront information about costs for a consultation.

Although we are solicitors and not accountants, we also understand the need to give great value and excellent service. There is no point in spending thousands on going to court if the assets are not there or if you don’t have a good argument. Our experienced family law solicitors can weigh up these issues and give you the advice you need.

We can help you with:

  • Advice on no-fault divorce proceedings
  • Legal advice during family mediation
  • Negotiating a separation agreement
  • Converting a financial agreement into a binding financial court order
  • Representation in an application for a financial court order
  • Injunction orders against domestic violence or to stop a spouse transferring money so it won't be available as part of the financial settlement
  • Children law orders including child arrangement orders and relocation orders

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call the expert London family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

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