Financial issues arising from divorce
Disagreements generally relate to money or property such as the marital home and whether that should be sold or transferred into the sole name of you or your partner. We have a professional duty to settle these issues out of court if at all possible. It is usually in the interests of you and your partner to co-operate with this aim.
It is particularly important for you to provide us with full and accurate information about your financial circumstances. A common problem and source of disagreements is where one partner fails to give details of all their assets. This slows everything down and, if the matter cannot be settled out of court, that person may have to pay court costs.
If you and your partner cannot agree over the value of property or assets, we may suggest using an expert witness to provide an independent valuation. In financial matters (“ancillary relief”), this is often a single witness approved by both partners and the court.
Factors taken into consideration by the court
The criteria which the court takes into consideration are set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The factors which will be taken into consideration include:
- the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each partner has or is likely to have in the future;
- the financial needs of the parties;
- the age of each party to the marriage and the length of the marriage;
- the contributions which each of the parties has made to the marriage
- the financial needs of the child
The conduct of the parties is taken into consideration rarely and usually relates to such matters as failing to disclose assets or disposal of them. A party is not usually penalised for merely being the Respondent to an adultery or unreasonable behaviour petition.
In all matters where there are children, the children’s welfare comes before anything else.
Disagreements settled by the court
If you and your partner cannot solve a disagreement out of court, you can apply for the court to settle the matter. The court will do all it can to negotiate an agreement between you, but failing this the judge will make a decision. Usually the judge will issue a “court order” to make their decision official.
Recording your agreement
However you go about reaching an agreement with your partner on the terms of a divorce, we can give you advice on the best way to record what you have agreed. If divorce action is already under way, we will usually advise you to opt for a court order which will set out the terms of the agreement clearly and in a way that is legally enforceable. Or, if you have not yet started action for divorce, you should consider a “separation agreement”. See our Separation Fact Sheet for further information
As from April 2014 Courts expect everyone, subject to certain specific exceptions, to have attended a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before starting Court proceedings.
For more information, please contact Julie Wain on 01889 583871 or 01785 211411
Published on web site – August 2014
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)