Your Guide To Financial Disputes On Divorce
Getting the right result for you and your family when it comes to divorce claims and settlements can be a very unique experience. For most couples, the financial consequences of getting divorced are their primary concern when all the proceedings are sorted out. Behzad Sharmin of OTS Solicitors will guide you through the process. We can advise you about the best way to reach a financial settlement that is ideal for you and your family. Your questions may include:
- How should your pension assets be treated?
- Will the family home be sold and if it is; how will the proceeds be divided?
- How should other assets owned by the family be divided?
- If the family home is sold, how will you and your spouse meet your housing needs?
- Will it be possible to pay the child maintenance and how will this be worked out?
- What money will both of you have to live on?
As a married person, you have legal rights to financial provision from your spouse on divorce. The position is not the same if you are in a civil partnership or you are not married. You can consult with us to find out what applies to you as an unmarried couple.
Your Finances and the law
Whether you reach financial settlement with your spouse through the collaborative process, mediation or negotiation; you will have to make an application for a financial order to the Court. The same legal guidelines are worked through to give you the ideal result based on your individual set of circumstances. No two couples or families are alike and there is not one right answer for each case. When you are determining your financial claims, the first prerogative of the court is to consider the welfare of any child of the family who is below eighteen years. The court will then consider the following:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other assets which each of you have or are likely to have in the foreseeable future. The court, where reasonable, expects a party to take steps to generate an income or increase their income stream.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each of you both now and in the future;
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
- The age of each of you and the duration of the marriage;
- Any physical or mental disability either of you may have;
- The contributions each of you has made to the welfare of the family, both financial and in relation to the home and the care of the children;
- The conduct of each of you, however, case law has established this is only relevant where serious financial misconduct has taken place or violence that effects a parties earning capacity.
The court will also have regard to principles established through case law. In recent times a number of very high profile cases have been in the headlines. Reported cases illustrate how a judge might apply the criteria set out above to a particular set of facts. However these principles may have little relevance to you if the facts differ from your case. Contrary to popular belief, the answer to the question “how much will I get?” is often not “half of everything”, particularly where the marriage is short or children are involved. This is because it will often be the needs of the parties’ that will determine the financial settlement reached.
If you are facing separation or divorce, you require the experience and expertise of a knowledgeable family lawyer. He or she can quickly help you to ascertain all the circumstances and the financial disclosure to give realistic advice as to what you can get. OTS Solicitors provide that expertise. With our wealth of experience, we can provide advice in relation to:
- Financial arrangements during separation
- The process of gathering information for financial disclosure
- Assistance with the valuation of pensions, business interests, trusts and property
- The presentation of financial disclosure
- Possible terms of settlement including division of assets and in relation to income
Financial disputes can prove to be the most costly part of a marriage breakdown. The more areas in dispute, the more time must be spent with you and the greater your legal costs will be. Ultimately, co-operation on both sides is the key to keeping legal costs to a minimum.
Approximately ten weeks after your application in court, a short appointment is made. It is usually less than 30 minutes in length. The court will evaluate the documents supplied and determine whether the case can proceed on the documents available or whether it should be postponed for further documents to be supplied.
Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Hearing
This is the second court hearing. It will be longer than the first and usually in excess of 45 minutes. The judge will study the papers supplied, listen to what you or your solicitor have to say about the case and then give an indication as to the sort of order the court would make if it were being asked to do so. You are free to accept or reject that indication.
For more information on family law please contact our Family Team or fill out our online family enquiry form.
Financial Disputes and Settlements
Our team of experienced family lawyers will advise you in relation to the various financial applications and claims which could be relevant to your situation, whether you are divorcing or separating after having lived together. We will always take into account not only your own needs, but also those of any children.
We have wide experience in dealing with all levels of financial settlements and disputes including assisting high net worth families and individuals with complex financial arrangements. Typically, we consider division of capital assets, housing and pensions, as well as considering whether spousal maintenance is appropriate and if so, at what level and for how long. We can also assist with child maintenance agreements.
We will advise and assist you throughout all stages of financial applications and negotiations from ensuring that you obtain appropriate financial disclosure to drafting a court order embodying an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will advise and assist you through the various stages of a court application to deal with the finances. Where appropriate, we engage the assistance of other experts to assist with issues such as company valuation, pensions and valuation of overseas assets. We can also assist you in obtaining orders to prevent the dissipation of assets or to ensure that assets are fully disclosed.