A common misconception is that divorce proceedings bring spouses’ financial obligations to an end, however, divorce solely brings the marriage to the end and does address financial matters. Financial matters are finalised via an Order through the Family Courts, without one, either ex-spouse can seek an Order later without any time limits.
The starting point for resolving financial disputes is that the parties can reach an agreement together whereby they provide each other with full and frank disclosure of their financial resources (this will occur no matter what route the parties take to reach a financial agreement) and discuss the division of assets between them. This will include capital assets, pensions, and liabilities. Stalwart Solicitors can then provide legal advice at this stage as to whether the agreement is fair and draft a Financial Consent Order to send to the Court.
Alternatively, parties can attend mediation with a qualified family mediator to reach an agreement in a more formal manner, whereby each party is supported to express their position by the mediator. The mediator cannot provide legal advice, nor is a mediation agreement legally binding. But Stalwart Solicitors can provide legal advice as to whether the mediation agreement is fair and draft a Financial Consent Order to send to the Court, which encompasses the agreement made at mediation.
Application to Court
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through informal discussions or mediation, Stalwart Solicitors can help you make an application to the Court for a Financial Remedy. There is no set formula for calculating appropriate financial provisions, but the starting point is an equal division of the matrimonial assets. Alongside this, when considering what appropriate Order should be made, the Court will refer to the factors set out in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, these are:
- the income, earning capacity, property, and other financial resources that each of the parties to the marriage has, or is likely to have in the foreseeable future. This includes in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which it would, in the opinion of the court, be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
- the financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
- the contributions that each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- the conduct of each of the parties, whatever the nature of the conduct and whether it occurred during the marriage or after the separation of the parties or dissolution or annulment of the marriage if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
- in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, because of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring; and
- the welfare of any child(ren) under the age of eighteen of the family and how their needs will be met.
Ultimately, the decisive factor in most cases is the reasonable needs of the parties and the children of the family.
Available Court Orders
Using the above information and evidence obtained from the parties, the Court is most likely to then make one of the following Orders:
- Lump-sum orders
- Property adjustment orders
- Orders for sale
- Pension Sharing Orders
Where possible, the Court will be hoping to achieve a clean break for the parties meaning any future financial claims are extinguished and both parties can move on with their lives.
Matrimonial finances are unique to each case therefore Stalwart Solicitors is happy to talk to you regarding the facts and nature of your case. No one case is the same, thus each requires a unique approach.
Please contact us for a 30-minute free video chat, web chat, or telephone call to start the conversation and to see how we can help. We are available 24/7 through the following platforms:
Telephone: 0345 222 0452