Financial settlements: how to sort out your assets
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Once your divorce or separation is complete there may still be a few issues which require further attention. Fortunately, our family law solicitors are also experts in financial settlements and can advise you on how to resolve these disputes.
Several financial problems can occur during a separation or divorce. A main concern is separating savings and estates which are owned jointly, as well as arranging financial support for any children that may be involved. Occasionally, separation or divorce may be followed by bankruptcy on behalf of one party. In situations such as these it is important that you have access to experienced solicitors who can help you settle these financial difficulties.
We manage all of our cases as cost effectively as possible. Almost all of our services, including divorce, are available within a Fixed Fee structure. This structure tells you what your legal costs will be at the beginning of the case with no hidden fees. Our direct approach will guide and update you throughout the entire progress of your divorce case and financial case.
Financial settlements vary depending on your situation. Listed below are several financial claims which often occur as a result of relationship breakdowns:
- Property: if an agreement cannot be made, the property may be sold and the sum of money divided accordingly.
- Lump sum of money: this is another option to offset any share in property or pension that would help assist financially.
- Transfer of assets: this can include property in which a transfer of property occurs usally to the primary carer of the children.
- Maintenance: the court can make an order for maintenance meaning payment can be made before the Decree Absolute is granted should there be a need for financial assistance, or ongoing spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance can be freestanding or for a fixed time period.
- Pensions: may be protected, but a lump sum may be ordered to even out the financial situation. It depends on the court and the financial factors further down the page.
To begin the process it is often necessary for both parties to declare their financial assets. This involves providing our firm with details and supporting evidence of all assets and liabilities in your married life including income and outgoing expenses. As soon as all of this financial information has been exchanged, negotiations can begin to resolve a financial situation on your behalf.
The court may need to be involved in the financial settlement. Mediation can be used to settle financial situations out of court. However, if the court does need to be involved in this process there are certain factors that will be taken into account:
- Welfare of any minor children
- Income, earning capacity, assets and financial resources
- Financial needs, obligations and responsibilities
- Standard of living
- Age of each party and length of the marriage
- Health of each party
- Contributions (financial and non-financial)
- Loss of certain rights (such as pensions)
These factors will work out who is the main income earner in the family as well as the person who is most responsible for any child care that may be involved. Typically, financial settlements are designed to treat the children involved as fairly and responsibly as possible. Normally, the party who earns the most income will have to allocate more money towards financially supporting the other benefit to ensure the childrens needs are met.
Due to the unique nature of each divorce settlement, all of our staff members are committed to helping you understand your case and the potential settlements which you may be expected to pay.
In England, it is important to understand that prenuptial agreements may not be effective in court proceedings especially if children are involved. See Prenuptial page.