Today the Government have announced there will be new legislation in divorce law. This new law will update the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in due course. It will mean that, in the future when the legislation comes into force, divorcing couples will no longer have to ‘blame’ each other for the breakdown of their marriage. It is hoped the new law will help reduce family conflict.
As well as the emotional impact caused by a relationship breakdown, there are also financial matters that need to be addressed and practical matters that need to be considered.
The common issues to be resolved when considering financial settlement include:
• Your family home and any other property you own
• Shares and investments
• Maintenance payments
• Liability for shared debts
Regardless of whether you are able to reach an amicable agreement or not, it is highly advisable to engage our services to ensure your assets are fully protected and fairly distributed.
When you deal with Hughes Paddison you can be assured that you will be treated professionally and personably. Our specialist lawyers will work with you to understand your particular circumstances, bringing a pragmatic and cost effective approach to our advice. We will do our utmost to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be for different eventualities. We will help you understand all of the options that are available to you. We may suggest various factors to be taken into account which you may not have considered. We will communicate with the other party in a non-offensive, non-contentious manner.
Our family law specialists have particular expertise in financial matters, plus access to invaluable tax and accountancy advice when required, and can advise you of your rights and your best course of action.
We have experts who are able to navigate their way through complex financial matters. We deal with cases often involving high net worth individuals, complex financial arrangements, family businesses or third party interests such as trusts.
Some frequently asked questions and answers about Financial Settlement are set out below
Frequently asked questions
I’m getting divorced and I want to make sure I get the money I am entitled to.
The law recognises that marriage is a partnership and both parties make contributions towards that partnership. The starting point of the division of assets upon divorce is therefore equality. However, the Court will want to ensure a fair outcome to both parties and each settlement is considered on a case-by-case basis, on its facts. A number of factors will be considered including whether there are any children, the length of the marriage, the needs of the parties, and how the assets have been built up.
We understand how complicated and contentious financial settlements for divorce can be, so our experienced solicitors aim to provide clear advice, support and guidance from the outset to enable you to reach a fair settlement.
Will I have to go to Court?
In the majority of cases we are able to use our expertise in non-confrontational dispute resolution to help you and your ex-partner agree a settlement voluntarily. Whilst the Court will need to approve your agreed settlement, this can be dealt with on paper and it is unusual for the parties to have to attend a hearing.
However, it is not possible in all cases to reach agreement without the assistance of the Court and making an application for a financial order. Our Family Team will provide clear advice and guidance on all stages of the process and proactively seek to engage with your spouse or their solicitor to reach an agreement settlement within the court proceedings. By working in this way, we find that few cases reach a final hearing where a decision is imposed upon the parties by the Judge.
I have heard about mediation. What is it?
In mediation, parties work with an independent, trained mediator to exchange financial disclosure and undertake discussions and negotiations to see if you can reach a financial settlement. The mediator does not make decisions or force you to enter into a settlement but encourages and helps parties to reach a settlement that is decided by and acceptable to the parties themselves.
Mediation is beneficial, as it is generally more cost effective and quicker than going to Court, is a flexible process that can be used to settle a variety of disputes, and can help to reduce tension, anger and misunderstanding between disputing parties.
When a referral is made to mediation, the parties will be invited to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is an individual meeting to discuss the mediation process and the issues that mediation could assist with resolving. If you both agree to mediation, a joint meeting will be arranged. If a settlement is reached in mediation, it is always sensible for this to be drawn up as a Consent Order by solicitors within the divorce proceedings for the agreement to be legally binding.
Call 01242 574244 or contact us to find out how we can help you with financial matters as a result of separation.