In most instances, when a couple separate, there are financial matters to be resolved. Whilst the division of assets does not actually form part of divorce proceedings, it is vital that financial matters are resolved and that a financial order is put in place, ensuring that a financial claim cannot be made against you by your former partner at some point in the future.
Here we answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding the financial aspects of separation including the division of assets and property.
What is the process for the division of property and assets?
If you and your former partner have agreed how assets are to be divided, a Family Law solicitor will meet with you to outline the agreed division in a Financial Consent Order and arrange for this to be submitted to the Court for approval. Provided that the proposed division of assets is considered to be fair to both parties, a Financial Consent Order will be granted by the court.
If you and your former partner have been unable to agree how assets should be divided, a Family solicitor can assist. The division of assets can be agreed in a number of ways:
- Negotiation between representing solicitors
- By issuing Court proceedings
- Collaborative meetings with specialist Collaborative lawyers.
Division of assets by the Courts is considered to be the last resort – in such instances, a Judge will determine how matrimonial assets should be split and a Financial Court Order made to confirm this.
At Price Slater Gawne, we work with clients to obtain the best and fairest outcome for all parties, minimising potential dispute and where possible maintaining communicative relationships between former partners; taking into account the long-term implications of a breakdown in communication for all parties involved.
Nicholas Clough is an accredited Collaborative Lawyer and can assist in any of the ways listed above.
What financial matters are dealt with in divorce and dissolution?
The financial matters taken into account for the Financial Order include but are not limited to:
- Property including the family home
- Inherited assets
- Businesses and business assets
- Spousal and child maintenance
What financial information will I need to provide during the divorce / dissolution process?
During divorce and dissolution proceedings, you will be required to provide full disclosure of your assets and income. – This will mean providing a full statement of all assets and earnings you hold / receive.
Will property and assets be split 50/50?
In England and Wales, the starting point for negotiating the division of assets is 50/50. Whilst this is the case, negotiations will take into account a number of factors including:
- The duration of the marriage and age of the parties
- The contributions to the marriage made by each party – considering factors such as career breaks for raising children
- The earning capacity of both parties, including pensions, inheritances, etc
- Financial needs of both parties
- Children under the age of 18 or other dependants
- The standard of living of the parties
- Any disabilities of the parties
- The conduct of the parties
Based on these factors, it is possible that one party will receive a larger proportion of the matrimonial assets than the other. However, each and every financial settlement will differ, based upon the individual circumstances of those involved.
What are matrimonial assets?
Matrimonial assets are items that have been acquired during the course of the marriage by both parties, such as the family home, pensions, investments, etc.
We have a pre-nuptial agreement in place, will this be accepted by the Court?
It is possible that a pre-nuptial agreement can be upheld by a court, but there are strict regulations concerning pre- nuptial agreements. It is best to seek legal advice on the validity of any agreements.
How much maintenance will be paid?
Child maintenance is paid according to a set mathematical formula and is dependant upon the paying party’s income, amongst other things. This aspect is dealt with by CMEC. Any spousal maintenance that may be payable is dependent upon the circumstances of a particular case. However, it is extremely rare to have a lifetime maintenance order.
Does the reason for the divorce affect the financial aspects?
In most cases, the reason for the divorce will not influence the division of assets and property.
How long does it usually take to agree the financial aspects of divorce / dissolution?
There is no set time for parties to agree, an agreement will either be reached or it will not. However, if it is clear that an agreement is not going to be achieved, then the next step would be to issue court proceedings. These can take up to a year, though it is still possible to reach an agreement during the court process.
Can mediation be used for negotiating the division of assets?
Yes, mediation is often very successful in assisting clients to agree the division of assets, whilst maintaining a good, communicative relationship.
For further information about mediation, please visit https://www.psg-law.co.uk/how-can-we-help-you/family/family-mediation/
What is Collaborative Law and how can this assist?
Collaborative Law is where both parties have their own specially qualified Family Law solicitor, who liaise with each other and there are a number of ’round the table’ meetings where matters are discussed civilly and in a non adversarial way. This has the benefit of less antagonism between the parties, and is frequently a cheaper and more cost effective process.
My solicitor has delayed applying for the Decree Absolute until all financial matters are resolved, why is this?
In some circumstances, especially where there are large pension assets involved, it is prudent to wait until financial settlement / a final court order has been made before applying for the decree absolute.
Will my business be taken into account in relation to the divorce?
Yes, as this will almost certainly be viewed as a matrimonial asset, depending upon the type of business.
If you have questions regarding the division of assets and property, the Price Slater Gawne Family Law team are here to help.
Please contact Kara Webster or Nicholas Clough on 0161 6155554, by email to Kara.Webster@psg-law.co.uk or Nicholas.Clough@psg-law.co.uk. Alternatively, our LiveChat facility is available via our website for any enquiries.