What Are Your Child Maintenance Options?

When a relationship breaks down I’m often asked:

  • How do I get Child Maintenance?
  • How much will I get?
  • What if we can’t agree?
  • What if the paying parent won’t pay, or is abroad, or is very rich?
  • How about the school fees?
  • Does it make a difference if the parents aren’t married?

You’ll find answers to all these questions below.

It’s no cheap matter to bring up children and to provide them with all their needs. And it costs even more if you’re a lone parent. A recent report states:

“The basic cost of a child from birth to age 18, excluding housing, childcare and council tax, is £75,436 for a couple family, and £102,627 for a lone-parent family.”

The Cost of a Child in 2017 by CPAG

Feelings may be running high between you and the children’s other parent but if you can for a moment put your differences aside and reach an agreement, this will be good not only for the children but for your ability to work together for the children’s welfare in the future.

How Do I Get Maintenance For The Children?

The best approach is to reach an agreement between you. This is often referred to as a Family Based Agreement. But what do you need to agree?

There are many Child Maintenance options. Monthly payments, regular lump sums, or payments for clothes, toys, sporting activities, music lessons, school uniforms or even school fees. Another alternative is to share the care of the children.

Parents sometimes agree a combination of all the above.

What If We Can’t Agree? What If Payments Aren’t Made?

If you can’t agree Child Maintenance between you there’s always Negotiation Collaborative Law or Mediation.

Otherwise you will need to apply to the Child Maintenance Service for help. A fee is charged. If the paying parent fails to make the payments, the CMS can collect them for you.

How Much Child Maintenance Will I Get?

This online calculator is a useful guide.

What About Children Who Are Over 16 But Not In Full Time Education? 

The age stipulation for Child Maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service can be a worry especially if your child is disabled. If you can’t agree payments, an application may be made to the Court under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.

What About School Fees?

There is no provision for the payment of school fees under the Child Maintenance Service. If you can’t agree, you can make an application to the Court under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.

How About Unmarried Parents? 

Here again, an agreement reached privately between parents is the ideal. Failing which, there is Negotiation, Collaborative Law or MediationOtherwise make an application to the Child Maintenance Service.

But the Child Maintenance Service can only help so far – it cannot provide lump sums or housing. And in the case of unmarried families there is no opportunity to obtain Court orders during the divorce process. But there’s always Schedule 1 of the Children Act. An Application may be made for a lump sum, or for the transfer of property.

What If The Paying Parent Lives Abroad?

If you’re part of an international family, and the paying parent lives abroad and isn’t paying Child Maintenance, the answer is to make an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. But check with the Child Maintenance Service first because there are exceptions to the rule that it doesn’t deal with paying parents abroad.

What If the Paying Parent is Very Rich?

The Child Maintenance Service can only assess income of the paying parent up to £3000 gross per week. So if you need a top up, the answer is to make an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. The question of school fees can also be addressed.

If you’re unmarried, this could be your opportunity to apply for a transfer of property or for a lump sum in order to provide the children with a home and other needs.

Child Maintenance Options

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on Child Maintenance Options. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

See my linked blog Maintenance and Clean Break on Divorce 

  • Who’s entitled to Spousal Maintenance? How’s it calculated?
  • What’s a Clean Break, and is it the answer?

Also see my blog What Comes First Divorce or Settlement about how to get the best divorce for you. 


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

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Maintenance and Clean Break on Divorce

Maintenance and Clean Break on DivorceThis week I’m talking about Spousal Maintenance and Clean Break on divorce.

  • Who’s entitled to Spousal Maintenance? How’s it calculated?
  • What’s a Clean Break, and is it the answer?
  • And what about Nominal, Capitalised, or Secured Maintenance?
And what on earth is a Duxbury Calculation?

Here’s a quick answer to all these questions and more, and I hope you’ll find it helpful. If anything’s not clear, please leave a comment, or get in touch. And right at the end I mention some of the topics I’ll be covering in my next blog which is about Child Maintenance.

Can I Claim Maintenance (aka Periodical Payments)?

It depends on your financial circumstances. The Court used to make lifelong Maintenance orders as a matter of course. But now a “Clean Break” is much more likely.

What’s a “Clean Break”?

It’s when the Matrimonial assets are shared out and you call it a day, you have no continuing right to Maintenance. But people do still sometimes avoid a Clean Break and get a Maintenance order, so read on.

What are the Options for Maintenance?

Maintenance can be:

  • Open ended
  • For a fixed period of time
  • Capitalised (see below)
  • Secured (see below)
  • Dismissed (see below)
  • Not dismissed but not in payment – a “Nominal Periodical Payments” order (see below)

How is Maintenance Worked Out?

It’s usually a question of need. What does the lesser earner, usually the parent with whom the children live, need in order to pay all the outgoings?

It’s only in exceptional cases that entitlement goes beyond needs, and this is where there’s an excess of income. There’s no set formula but the Courts say the concepts of “sharing” and “compensation” should be applied.

How Do “Sharing” and “Compensation” Differ from “Needs”

“Sharing” is, briefly, the idea of sharing in the “fruits of the marriage”. So it’s an attempt at fairness rather than just covering needs. “Compensation” refers to big money divorces where Maintenance is likely to go far beyond needs. These complex areas are discussed in the cases of Miller and McFarlane.

If there’s high income in your divorce, you’d be wise to seek advice from an expert Family Solicitor to make sure you don’t miss out. Most offer initial free advice. We certainly do.

What is Capitalised Maintenance?

The payer pays a lump sum upfront representing a certain amount of Maintenance over a certain period of time. Family lawyers use a Duxbury Calculation to work out the appropriate figure. This can result in a “Clean Break” (see above).

What’s a Duxbury Calculation?

Tables to work out a lump sum which represents the appropriate level and duration of Maintenance. They are contained in At A Glance, Essential Tables for Financial Remedies published by the Family Law Bar Association. The 2018-2019 edition comes out in April and can be preordered here for £70.

What is Secured Maintenance?

Are you worried your Maintenance won’t be paid? If so you can either agree, or the Court can make, a Secured Maintenance order. But this is only appropriate if the payer has sufficient assets to cover the payments.

What Happens When Entitlement to Maintenance is Dismissed?

You lose your entitlement to Maintenance. If you have the slightest doubt, seek advice from a Family Law solicitor.

What are Nominal Periodical Payments?

It’s when you’re not receiving Maintenance, but your entitlement is not dismissed. You might be able to go back for a second bite of the cherry if your circumstances change. These Maintenance orders are often worded as “five pence a year”.

Why are Nominal Periodical Payment Orders Important?

They protect the lesser earner, typically the parent who has the children living with them. So for example if the parent suffers a catastrophic injury and is unable to work, the order could be a safety net.

Can Maintenance Be Agreed?

Yes, of course. If you need a little guidance, “Pay As You Go” divorce costs can be helpful.  Otherwise you can try negotiation, collaborative law, or mediation. The last resort is an application to the Court which of course is expensive and stressful, but sometimes necessary.

Is a Court Order Necessary?

Even if there’s full agreement it’s wise to have a Consent Order. This prevents misunderstandings. A good Family Solicitor can draw up a Consent Order for a fixed fee.

Can Maintenance be Varied?

An application to the Court can be made by either of you if there’s been a change in circumstances. This could be for example illness or redundancy. Or perhaps one of you has landed a well paid job, or there’s been an inheritance.

What Happens If I Remarry?

Your Spousal Maintenance will end.

Next Week’s Blog – “Maintenance for Children”

Following on from this blog about “Maintenance and Clean Break on Divorce” I will be posting a blog to cover the following questions:

  • Can I get Maintenance for the Children?
  • How much will it be?
  • Is there Maintenance for Children over 16 but not in full time education?
  • What about school fees?
  • Is it different if the absent parent is a very high earner?

Maintenance and Clean Break on Divorce

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on Maintenance and Clean Break on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

See my blog about how to get the best financial settlement on divorce.

Did you know there are different rules for Short Marriages?


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

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Pensions on Divorce – What Can You Expect?

Pensions On Divorce

Worried about pensions on divorce? Make sure you know how to get your fair share, and how to protect a pension which shouldn’t be included.

Valuing Pensions on Divorce

Ask your pension provider for the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value of your pension. This will give you an idea of the value of the pension but it can be inaccurate.

If you’re making a claim over a valuable pension you should consider obtaining a valuation from an actuary.

Pension Actuarial Reports

This will help you get a fair share of a valuable pension. An actuary will work out the realistic value. He or she will advise how best to divide the pension to provide equality of income in retirement. This will for example take into consideration your different life expectancies. If you’re a woman, you will need more than half as you’re likely to live longer.

State Pension after Divorce

Find out your entitlement to a State Pension when working out your financial settlement. Here’s a link to a form you can complete to obtain a forecast. Or you can phone, or emailYou can obtain an online forecast if you have an HMRC account

Family Home or a Share of Ex’s Pension?

It’s a hard decision. But in the long run you could face a difficult retirement with a limited income whilst your ex is reaping the benefit of a valuable pension pot. Make sure you get expert legal adviceMost Divorce Solicitors offer free initial advice – we certainly do.

Can I Keep My Pension out of the Divorce?

Try arguing it’s a non matrimonial asset. Can you say some or all of it accrued before the marriage? Or can you offer a greater share of other assets to compensate? But the only fool proof method is to enter into a Prenuptial Agreement before the marriage, or a Postnuptial Agreement during the marriage.

See my blog Ring Fence & Protect Assets On Divorce.

Pension Sharing on Divorce after Retirement

One approach is to look at both of your incomes and equalise them with a maintenance order.

Retired and Contemplating Marriage?

If you don’t want to risk your pension (or other assets), consider a Prenuptial Agreement. Here’s a helpful factsheet on the subject.

What is a Pension Sharing Order?

It gives away a share of a pension by transferring a percentage of it into another scheme. The Order can be made by consent so you don’t have to go to Court. It’s served on the pension provider. Bear in mind pension providers charge fees for sharing pensions. Here’s a link to the form that needs to be filled in. It’s annexed to a Consent Order. (Read here how a Consent Order will protect you).

Can I get my Ex’s State Pension?

You may be able to use your ex’s National Insurance Contributions to boost your State Pension. The Additional State Pension can also be shared on divorce. Here’s a helpful link to the Pensions Advisory Service

Pensions on Divorce

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on Pensions on Divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

See my blog about how to get the best financial settlement on divorce.

Did you know there are different rules for Short Marriages?


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

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Brexit, Family Law & Divorce – March 2018 Update

Brexit, Family Law And Divorce

Brexit, family law and divorce – do you think this might have relevance to you? Well, yes, if you’re part of an International Family, and you’re involved in a family law dispute.

Are You In An International Family?

If you or your ex were:

  • born in another EU country but live in the UK
  • born in the UK but live in another EU country

you’re part of an International Family.

How Do EU Rules Help Family Law?

They say:

  • Where to start Court cases. Otherwise there can be cases going on in two different countries at the same time
  • Court Orders made in this country can be enforced in other EU countries and vice versa

Do EU Rules Help Children In Family Law Disputes?

Yes.

  • They say where to start Court cases. This is the country where the children live. Otherwise there could be cases going on in two different countries at the same time
  • They tighten up the Hague Convention in child abduction cases:
    • A stricter timetable
    • The children’s home country must make the final decision
    • The Court will hear evidence from the child (a benefit shortly to be added)

What Difference Will Brexit Make?

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will bring all EU family law rules onto our books. But we need new agreements with the remaining EU countries to ensure these rules remain reciprocal. In other words, both we and the remaining EU countries must agree to be bound by them. Because otherwise there will be confusion, delay and extra expense for families.

Why Is Reciprocity Vital?

The Government must knit our family law system and the EU family law system together

Will These Vital Reciprocal Agreements Be Made?

It’s uncertain. The Government is concentrating on trade and other important agreements.

What Will Happen Without Reciprocal Agreements?

We will lose the straightforward enforceability of orders in EU countries concerning maintenance and children.  And the question of where to start divorce cases or cases about the children will be complicated.

Is The Court Of Justice Of The European Union (CJEU) Important?

Yes. It updates and interprets EU family law rules. But the Government wants to end all links with it.

What Happens If We End All Links With The CJEU?

Changes in the interpretation of EU rules, and amendments to these rules, will apply to all the remaining EU countries, but not to us. So our rules and the remaining EU countries’ rules will not knit together.

What Should Happen?

Family law organisations such as Resolution are lobbying Parliament about Brexit, family law and divorce. They’re saying in particular we should maintain links with the CJEU. This means we’d have a say in EU family law procedure and interpretation, and keep our laws and rules up to date.

Has The Lobbying Of Parliament Had Any Effect?

Yes. Amendments have been tabled to The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill currently going through the House of Lords. These are the amendments:

  • A requirement on the Government to report every six months on the progress of negotiating new reciprocal arrangements in family law, and a specific requirement to seek ongoing reciprocal arrangements;
  • Allowing UK Courts to refer family law matters to the CJEU for eight years and, where a referral has been made, to be bound by that decision. In addition, for the English Court to have regard to other CJEU decisions; and
  • Ensuring the Hague Conventions are ratified by the UK.

Is There Anything You Can Do To Help?

But Please Remember …

  • If you are keen to divorce in a particular country for financial reasons you should seek legal advice without delay

    Brexit, Family Law And Divorce

    Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on Brexit, Family Law and Divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.


    JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

     

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Click to visit our website.Click to visit our website.

What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement?

What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement

What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement?

The answer is they should be going on at the same time.

But it’s often wise to delay finalising the divorce until the finances have been sorted out. So if you’re in a hurry to divorce see my recent blog.

How Much Will The Divorce Cost?

The Court fee is £550.

If you need help from a solicitor with the forms a “pay as you go” deal is the answer. This means you ask a solicitor for advice when needed, and limit the expense. But if you hand your divorce over to a solicitor, make sure you know how much they’re going to charge. If you do the divorce yourself without legal advice mistakes can be made. And if a solicitor has to unravel them this will make your divorce more expensive.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce?

“Irretrievable breakdown” – and you have to rely on one of five reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two Years Separation With Consent
  • Five Years Separation Without consent

Unsure which to go for? For more details see my blog on the subject.

Can I Do The Divorce Myself, Or Do I Need A Solicitor? 

Yes you can do it yourself.

But don’t be afraid to ask for help to avoid mistakes being made on the papers (and the Court sending them back). A common problem is service, or forgetting to tick an important box, or failing to grapple with legal definitions of residence – a complication if you’re an international family.

A solicitor can also help if your other half is not acknowledging the proceedings.

How Long Does It Take?

Usually about four months but there can be pitfalls – see my recent blog.

How Is The Divorce Settlement Worked Out?

The starting point is equal division. But various factors are taken into account including:

  • The Children’s Welfare
  • Income and Earning Capacity
  • Financial Needs
  • Standard Of Living
  • Your Ages, And Length Of The Marriage
  • Physical Or Mental Disabilities
  • Contributions To The Marriage

It’s an idea to take advantage of free advice from experienced family law solicitors. Advice is important if there are:

  • Disagreements about children
  • Disputes about property
  • Valuable property
  • Assets with significant values, such as a pension or an inheritance, you’d like to protect. See my blog on ring fencing
  • Businesses need special care. See my blog on steps to be taken
Did you know there are different rules for Short Marriages?

Do I Need A Consent Order?

It’s a good idea. Because if one of you changes your mind, or if one of you comes into money, there’s no going back for a second bite of the cherry. And it’s relatively simple for a solicitor to draw one up. But remember to ask for a fixed fee quote.

What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement?

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice about what comes first divorce or settlement. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

 

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My Husband Has Left Me What Are My Rights?

My Husband Has Left Me What Are My Rights?“My husband has left me, what are my rights?” This is a question I am asked only too often. Because in the immediate aftermath of a break up there’s a lot to worry about. And it’s not just the emotional fall out – which is bad enough – but the finances too. And particularly if you are the prime carer of the children, and don’t have immediate access to income to keep the family and the home afloat. It can all seem a bit of a nightmare.

Let Me Give You An Example Of The Issues

Judy comes to see me. Her husband, Richard, has discovered she’s having an affair with her Pilates instructor. Richard has left her and says she won’t get a penny of his money. He’s a high earner, and she’s at home looking after their two small children. Richard has his yacht and Ferrari up for sale and has threatened to move all his money abroad. He owns the family home in his sole name and has sent round an estate agent who says it’s going on the market.

Can Judy Stop Richard Selling The Family Home?

Yes. Judy can protect her right to occupy the family home.

She or her solicitor can send an application to the Land Registry for registration of a Notice of Home Rights. Indeed anyone who is not a joint owner should register their home rights as quickly as possible if their marriage has broken down.

Can Judy Stop Richard Selling His Yacht And His Ferrari And Moving All His Money Abroad?

Yes, Judy or her solicitor can make an urgent application to the Court to freeze Richard’s assets.

Can Judy Get Maintenance From Richard On An Emergency Basis?

Yes, Judy or her solicitor can make an application to the Court for maintenance pending suit (sometimes called interim maintenance).

Can Judy Get Maintenance From Richard To Enable The Family To Remain In The Family Home?

Judy will need to use the Child Maintenance Service to get payments for the children. As for ongoing maintenance for herself, that depends on both her and Richard’s financial situation.

Can Court be Avoided?

If Richard calms down and agrees to negotiate, or to mediate, or to use collaborative law, there’s no reason why this has to go to Court.

Although as mentioned above, registering a Notice of Home Rights is always advisable where the family home is not in joint names.

My Husband Has Left Me What Are My Rights?

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on your rights. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

 

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High Net Worth Divorce Settlements – 6 FAQs

High Net Worth Divorce Settlements
High Net Worth Divorce Settlement

High Income? Valuable Pension, Business, Inheritance, Investments or Property?

Consult a Solicitor who specialises in high net worth divorce settlements or you could lose out. Why? Because couples involved in valuable divorces must navigate complex issues. These include:

  • identifying matrimonial and non matrimonial property
  • the pros and cons of ring fencing (see my recent blog on this topic)
  • the burden of taxation
  • obtaining appropriate valuations
  • clawing back hidden assets

A specialist Solicitor can undertake this work on your behalf. And you don’t necessarily have to incur the huge expense of going to Court. Whether by negotiation, collaborative law or mediation, it may be possible to achieve a bespoke out-of-Court financial settlement.

In this blog I look at some frequently asked questions:

How Are High Net Worth Divorce Settlements Calculated?

Equal Division Or “Needs” In High Net Worth Divorce Settlements?

When Do “Needs” Override Equal Division?

How Are “Needs” Defined and Calculated in Stellar Contribution Divorces?

Need A Guide To Protecting Your Fortune?

Where Should You Start Your High Net Worth Divorce?

How Are High Net Worth Divorce Settlements Calculated?

The starting point includes the following considerations:

  • Resources of the couple
  • Their needs
  • Standard of living of the couple during the marriage
  • Their respective contributions to the family

Equal Division Or “Needs” In High Net Worth Divorce Settlements?

The starting point for division is equality, as laid down in landmark case White v White. 

Mr White said he created the family’s wealth including two farms worth in excess of £4m. He therefore claimed Mrs White was not entitled to an equal share. But the Court stated it would consider Mrs White’s entitlement beyond her immediate needs.

When Do “Needs” Override Equal Division?

Division can be unequal in high net worth divorces. This is where there has been a special, or what is called a “stellar”, contribution by one party who has an “exceptional and individual quality”. See my recent blog on Ryan Giggs’s divorce

Why is this distinction made? Because the Court says it is unjust for an immense fortune amassed by one spouse to be shared with the other. Consequently the concept of stellar contribution only applies in very special cases.

How Are “Needs” Defined and Calculated in Stellar Contribution Divorces?

The term “needs” includes income and capital, present and future. In addition it includes the provision of a home, and sufficient income or capital for old age. In simple terms, if there’s a lot of money around when you’re married, there’s likely to be a lot of money around after you divorce.

Need A Guide To Protecting Your Fortune?

Because even if your case doesn’t fall into the “stellar” contribution category, you may have high net worth assets to protect. Hence my recent blogs will assist you:

Ring Fence and Protect Assets on Divorce

How to Protect Your Inheritance on Divorce

How to Protect Your Business on Divorce

And did you know different rules apply to short marriages?

Short Marriages – 10 Things You Need To Know

Where Should You Start Your High Net Worth Divorce?

It probably depends on your point of view. There is evidence Judges in London are more likely to:

  • consider an equal division of assets, and
  • make open ended orders for the payment of maintenance.

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on the special considerations relevant to high net worth divorces. In this 20 minute session we will review your matrimonial financial situation and how you can achieve your objectives.


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

 

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Quick Divorce or Safe Divorce? How To Protect Your Financial Settlement

Quick Divorce1. How Quick Is A Quick Divorce?

Need a quick divorce? It usually takes about four months to end a marriage if the divorce is uncontested and there are no mishaps with the paperwork along the way. This may not sound particularly quick, but did you know you risk missing out financially if it goes even this quickly?  (see question 3 below).

To avoid mishaps with the paperwork take a quick look at our recent blog here.

2. Why Can’t A Quick Divorce Be Quicker?

Because there’s a strict timetable for the Court paperwork.

Documents have to be completed by you, your other half, and the Court. You will need to supply the reasons for your divorce (our recent blog can help). And even when you’ve dealt with all the paperwork and you’ve got your Decree Nisi, you will have to wait six weeks and one day before applying for the Decree Absolute (which ends your marriage).

And did you know there are special rules for short marriages? Click here to read our recent blog on this subject.

3. Why Would Anyone Want To Delay Their Divorce?

Because you could miss out on a fair share of the matrimonial finances.

If your other half dies after the divorce but before you have a Court Order confirming the financial settlement, you could lose out because you won’t be their widow or widower. And you could miss out on a fair share of their pension.

4. When’s The Ideal Time To Finalise A Divorce?

When the Court has made an Order confirming your financial settlement.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to Court for a big fight about money. After all, you may be in agreement about everything, or maybe there are just one or two things outstanding. Whatever the case is, get a quote from a family solicitor to help you with a Consent Order.

5. What Is A Consent Order?

It sets your financial settlement in stone.

Once the Court has made the Order, your other half can’t change their mind. And if you come into money, your other half can’t claim it. You can now apply for your Decree Absolute knowing your interests are protected.

6. Quick Divorce Or Safe Divorce?

It’s up to you. But make sure you take expert legal advice if you have any doubts.

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will discuss with you what’s been going wrong, and advise you of the most suitable wording for your divorce petition, and whether or not you require a Consent Order.

 


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image: Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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Grounds for Divorce – 5 Things You Need To Know

GroundsForDivorceThink you may have grounds for divorce? There are five reasons for the breakdown of marriage or civil partnership you can rely on:

1. Adultery 
2. Unreasonable Behaviour  
3. Desertion 
4. Two Years Separation With Consent 
5. Five Years Separation Without consent

But read on because there are different rules for each reason …

1. Adultery

Adultery is sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

If you are still living together, make sure you start your divorce or dissolution within six months of discovering the adultery. The third party (the “co-respondent”) is rarely named as little can be achieved.

Controversially adultery can only be with a member of the opposite sex. If you are in a same sex marriage or civil partnership, you will have to rely on unreasonable behaviour instead.

2. Unreasonable Behaviour

This is behaviour which you think is unreasonable. This can be very serious behaviour such as violence or other form of domestic abuse. Or it might be that your other half shows no interest in you, is unsupportive, or spends all their time at work.

But please take care. In the unlikely event your other half defends the divorce there can be problems if the Court doesn’t consider the behaviour serious enough. If you have any doubts at all take expert legal advice. See our post “Why You Need A Family Lawyer To Check Your DIY Divorce Petition”.

Timing is important. The unreasonable behaviour needs to have been within the last six months if you are still living together. Or perhaps the behaviour is continuing? In which case, timing is not a problem.

3. Desertion

A rarely used ground. Desertion is when your other half leaves you for two years without your agreement, and for no good reason other than to end the relationship. This doesn’t have to be a continuous period but must be within the last two and a half years. Up to six months of resumed living together doesn’t count.

4. Two Years Separation with Consent

Here there’s no blame. But patience is required as you will need to live apart for two years. You also need to know that your other half will definitely sign to say they agree to the divorce.

5. Five Years Separation without Consent

Another rarely used ground. If you have lived apart for five years and your other half doesn’t agree to a divorce, this is the reason you can rely on.

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on the grounds for divorce. In this 20 minute session we will:

  • Discuss with you what’s been going wrong
  • Advise you of the most suitable wording for your divorce petition
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JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

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Financial Settlement On Divorce, How To Get The Best One For You – 5 FAQs

Financial Settlement On Divorce

  1. What’s The Best Way To Tackle Your Financial Settlement On Divorce?

By all means try to come to a financial settlement on divorce between yourselves. But make sure you obtain advice from an expert family solicitor to ensure it’s a fair deal. This could save you money in the long term because the wrong financial settlement can affect the rest of your life.

The Resolution website is a good place to start your search for an expert solicitor. Your solicitor should advise you of your options such as negotiation, mediation or collaborative law. But if these don’t work, Court proceedings might be the answer. Your solicitor will tell you how much these options are likely to cost.

  1. What Happens First?

All the matrimonial assets are utilised to provide a fair settlement for both of you. So you both need to provide information about every single one, whether owned in your joint names, or in your sole names:

  • The value of the family home (and any other property) and the size of the mortgage
  • Bank and building society accounts
  • Shares
  • Pensions
  • Any other investments
  • Debts

And you will both need to provide details of your income and outgoings, too.

  1. Which Assets Are Non Matrimonial? 

Can you protect your inheritance on divorce? How can you ring fence your business? How about property owned pre-marriage? You will need expert legal advice to answer these questions. But you must, first of all, disclose the existence of these assets, and their value.

  1. How Are Assets Divided For Your Financial Settlement On Divorce?

The starting point is equal division. But the Matrimonial Causes Act tells us we must also consider various factors, and any one of these could mean an adjustment to income or capital. The list of factors includes:

The Welfare Of Any Children
Income and Earning Capacity

The approach is to achieve a “clean break” between couples by capital adjustment rather than ongoing maintenance.

Financial Needs

If there are children, the parent with whom they live is likely to have a greater need for capital.

Standard Of Living During The Marriage

In rare cases where there is an excess of capital and income, this is an argument for a greater share.

Your Ages, And The Length Of The Marriage

There are different considerations depending on the ages of the couple, and whether it’s a short marriage or a long marriage.

Any Physical Or Mental Disabilities

This could be a case for ongoing maintenance, or extra capital.

Contributions To The Marriage

High achievers can attempt to ring fence their “stellar contribution

5.         Is A Court Order Required?

A Court order means if one of you changes your mind, or if one of you comes into money, there’s no going back for a second bite of the cherry. And it’s a relatively simple matter for a solicitor to draw up an order and to send it to Court. Ask for a fixed fee quote.

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on your financial settlement on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will:

  • Review your matrimonial financial situation and how you can achieve your objectives
  • Give you an overview of how a suitable financial settlement may be achieved by either negotiation, collaborative law, mediation, or Court procedure
* Scroll down to sign up for Emails from our expert Solicitors to keep up to date with these important issues *

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

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