Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered

Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered

1. Can I do the divorce/end our civil partnership myself

Yes, here’s a guide to how to file for divorce in the UKIt also tells you about the challenges you might faceIf in doubt, consult an expert family lawyer.

2. How much will it cost

The Court fee is £550 but:

  • are you eligible for an exemption? Here’s a link to an application form, or
  • will your ex pay? You can ask the Court to make an order although it’s not guaranteed the Court will agree so try to reach agreement with your ex.

3. How long will it take

About four months ruling out mishaps with the paperwork. But it’s wise to delay completing your divorce until you have a financial order. Why? Because you might miss out on your fair share; eg if your ex dies after the divorce but before you have a financial order you could lose out on their pension. Not sure? Consult an expert family solicitor.

4. How are the finances split 

Equally – subject to the following factors:

  • welfare of children
  • income and earning capacity –  a “clean break” means a payment of capital instead of ongoing maintenance
  • financial needs – eg the care of children
  • 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 – different considerations apply if it’s a short marriage
  • disabilities – ongoing maintenance or extra capital may be the answer
  • contributions to marriage – high achievers can attempt to ring fence their “stellar contribution

Try to agree the finances with your ex – see my recent blog How to avoid Court for your options:

5. Do I have to disclose my finances

Yes. Hiding assets or income drags things out and can result in an expensive and never ending court case. You will disclose your assets and income in a Form E Financial Statement, and/or a Statement of Information for Consent Order (if your agreed settlement is protected in a consent order)

If you don’t make full disclosure you risk:

  • adverse inferences being drawn as to the extent of your assets
  • extra costs
  • imprisonment for contempt of Court

Think you’ve got away with it? The Court can overturn financial orders when non disclosure or fraudulent disclosure comes to light. Transferring assets to someone else? You risk a Court order freezing your assets and a hefty costs order. Hiding assets? You risk imprisonment for contempt of Court.

6. Can I ring fence my assets 

Yes, sometimes, but you must still give full and frank disclosure first. What’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce? A prenuptial agreement.

If you’re already married, a post nuptial agreement. 

7. What’s a non matrimonial asset

Take advice because it depends on all the circumstances:

  • the house you owned before the marriage
  • the pension you paid since you started work
  • the inheritance that post dated separation
  • your business

But if there aren’t enough matrimonial assets left to fulfil your ex’s needs eg for housing, non matrimonial assets can be used to plug the gap.

8. Is it possible to ring fence and protect an earlier inheritance

Possibly if you never allowed it to be used as a matrimonial asset.

9. Can a business be ring fenced

Your ex might make a claim over your business but won’t automatically be entitled to a share of the business on divorce, and if they are, they could instead receive a larger share of other assets such as savings or the family home. Take advice, this is a tricky one.

Joint business? The options are:

  • split it between you
  • buy each other out
  • sell it

Here again a you might want to consider a post nuptial agreement.

10. My husband/wife/civil partner has left me what are my rights

Worried your ex will:

  • sell your home because it’s not in joint names
  • sell, hide or move valuable assets

The answers are:

  • an application to the Land Registry to register a Notice of Home Rights – anyone who is not a joint owner should register their home rights when a marriage breaks down
  • an urgent application to the Court to freeze assets

You need maintenance:

  • on an emergency basis
  • to support the children

The answers are:

Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for Your Top 10 Divorce Questions Answered – Facial portrait of sad expression by a female actress by xusenru on Wikimedia

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No Fault Divorce – Your Questions Answered

No Fault DivorceWhy is no fault divorce in the news?

The Government is considering no fault divorce because our current system isn’t working well. If you want to divorce you have to rely on a reason:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years separation with consent
  • Desertion
  • Five years separation without consent

Unsure which reason to rely on? See my blog Grounds for divorce – 5 things you need to know

Why has the Government decided to look at no fault divorce?

Resolution (an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes) has been lobbying for no fault divorce for years. And the case of Owens v Owens has been in the news.

What is Owens v Owens about?

Mrs Owens wants to divorce her husband. She gave twenty seven examples of his unreasonable behaviour: he is moody, argumentative and disparaging. But he defended the divorce saying the marriage wasn’t over, and he disputed the behaviour his wife had mentioned.

The Judge disagreed with Mr Owens – the marriage was clearly over – but he said the examples of behaviour were flimsy and exaggerated and Mrs Owens could not have her divorce. This meant she would have to stay married to Mr Owens. She appealed.

What happened when Mrs Owens appealed?

On 25 July 2018 the Supreme Court said the Judge was right when he said her reasons weren’t good enough. But the Supreme Court also said it felt “uneasy” and that “Parliament may wish to consider whether to replace a law which denies to Mrs Owens … a divorce”.

What’s the solution for Mrs Owens?

She will have to stay married to Mr Owens until they have lived apart for five years.

What is the Government doing? 

The Ministry of Justice has published a consultation paper, Reform of the legal requirements for divorce. They are asking whether divorce should simply be on the ground of irretrievable breakdown with no need to mention reasons. And whether the ability to ‘defend’ a divorce should end. The consultation closes 10 December.

Why is no fault divorce a good idea?

  • Angry spouses won’t be able to block divorces
  • People won’t have to stay married when they don’t want to
  • There will be less conflict
  • Couples will be able to concentrate on what is best for the children
  • They will be more likely to reach an amicable agreement about the finances, by negotiation, mediation or collaborative law
  • Our current divorce system dates to 1969. We live in a very different society and women are seen as equal partners in a marriage
  • Legal bills will be lower
  • There will be fewer contested divorces. Our Courts are stretched and so this might make everything a bit better for all of us

Is no fault divorce going to make more people divorce?

The breakdown of a relationship is hard enough as it is without the Court procedure adding to the difficulties. And in reality couples often agree how to word their divorces. “I’ll admit to adultery,” or “You can mention that unreasonable behaviour.”

Why is divorce an important stage in agreeing the finances? 

A Court order finalising the finances is only available once the first divorce decree has been granted (the “decree nisi”). Hence it’s a good idea to sort out the divorce and the finances at the same time. See my blog What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement

Can I do the divorce myself? 

Yes. But if you are struggling read my blog 10 reasons why you need a family law solicitor to check your DIY divorce petition

No Fault Divorce

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on any of the issues raised in this blog. 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.

image Couple by Muramasa on Wikimedia

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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. Why? Because if your other half dies after the divorce but before you have a Court order confirming the financial settlement, you could lose out as their widow or widower. And you could miss out on a fair share of their pension. Is this something that particularly concerns you? Get in touch with an expert family lawyer.

How much will the divorce cost

The Court fee is £550.

Need help with the Court 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. Can you do the divorce yourself? See below.

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 Grounds for Divorce – 5 things you need to know.

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). See my blog 10 Reasons why you need a family law solicitor to check your DIY divorce petitionA 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 above.

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 ask an experienced family law solicitor for advice if there are:

Do I have to disclose my finances

See my blog Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know.

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. See my blog How do I get a consent order?

What comes first divorce or settlement

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for 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. 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 for What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement? Sad Lucy by Tim Dawson on Wikimedia Commons

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Collaborative Law – How Can It Help With Family Breakdown?

collaborative law family breakdownHow can couples move on from relationship breakdown with positive feelings? How can conflict – about money, about children – be minimised?

If I could say one thing, and one thing only, to help people mend the pain of relationship breakdown, and to translate the inevitable hurt feelings into something a lot more positive, I would say “try collaborative law“.

Did you know that collaborative law involves you and your ex, and both of your solicitors, signing an agreement that no one will issue court proceedings? This means that all of you, solicitors included, are totally committed to finding a solution. Any approach which avoids going to court has got to be good.

So how does collaborative law work? The principle is that the four of you, that’s you, your ex, and both of your solicitors, will have a series of meetings, usually three or four, and these will be organised and will proceed at a pace which is right for you. Your solicitor will be there to advise you and will communicate on your behalf with your ex and their solicitor if you don’t feel up to engaging directly yourself.

The first point to make is of course that if you can reach a final agreement over a series of three or four meetings over a period of months (but sometimes even just a few weeks), you will have saved yourself a great deal of time. Court proceedings can take much longer, a year or more sometimes.

At the first meeting you will all sign the collaborative law participation agreement. No one is going to issue court proceedings, and if they do, both of you will have to find new solicitors as the solicitors appointed to act in the collaborative process can’t continue. You also agree to be respectful to each other and to give “financial disclosure”, which means you will both have to provide details and documents proving all your income and assets. This disclosure is required whenever matrimonial finances are addressed – whether this be in negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, or court.

You agree the agenda for the second meeting. This will be the issues that are important to each of you. Every family is different and this is your opportunity to say what you want to achieve. Typically the agenda will include how the family home will be dealt with. If there are children it might be that they’re finding it difficult to adjust to the breakdown of their parents’ relationship. A priority can be exploring how to ease the transition for them.

It’s possible to involve other experts, such as counsellors to help you cope with the breakdown, or to assist the children in the transition, and financial experts who can advise on the valuation of your assets.

There’s an orderly and honest exchange of financial information at the second meeting, the focus still on what the couple want to achieve.

At the third meeting typically all the cards are put on the table. Individual priorities are known; the facts and figures are at your finger tips; you both have your solicitors there to advise and support you. There’s hard talking and inevitably compromise on both sides.

If not at the third meeting, then typically at the fourth meeting a final solution is agreed. There’s been compromise on both sides, possibly even a few tears, but you’ve achieved what seemed like the impossible by communicating and ultimately agreeing with your ex. You’ve laid the foundation for moving on with your life and putting all the heartbreak behind you. Who knows, you might even be able to be friends. You will certainly be in a stronger position to co-parent successfully, which as I have mentioned in an earlier post requires careful navigation.

You have been an active participant in the decision making process – far more empowering and healing than leaving it to a Judge to decide. And unlike mediation you (and your ex) have received advice throughout the process, and your solicitor has been with you to communicate on your behalf if you haven’t felt you wanted to engage directly with your ex.

In the court process there’s only a limited selection of orders that can be made. But in collaborative law, personal tailoring is possible, unique agreements can be reached. When you and your ex decide what’s best for your particular family, you can make agreements not generally available in court proceedings. You can agree the nuts and bolts of how you’re going to co-parent your children, where they’re going to live on a day to day basis, how you’re going to coordinate your care of them, how their individual needs can be met.

If you’re able to talk all this through – the property, the money, the children, the routine of co-parenting – then it makes it more likely that you will be able to continue being a family, a different family of course, but a family none the less, with two parents who work together in the interests of their children.

As you will have made the transition with little acrimony and are moving on with your lives separately but positively, there will be no need for your extended families and friends to take sides. You won’t dread your child’s wedding day, wondering how you and your ex will be able to sit at the top table together, let alone in the same room. You will still be a functioning family.

Collaborative law is the way to move forward positively from the breakdown of your relationship.

Wouldn’t you agree that any approach which avoids going to court has got to be good? If you have an opinion about collaborative law, please do share your comment with us, we would like to hear from you.

If you have found this post interesting please sign up below for new posts by email.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

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

image by Harland Quarrington on wikimedia

 

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DIY Divorce and Online Divorce – What are the Risks?

online divorceYou’ve reached the end of the road and you want a divorce. You want to get on with it, you don’t want any fuss and bother, and you want to spend as little money as possible.

I’m not surprised at the rise of DIY divorce. There are sites all over the internet telling you how to do it or offering online assistance. It’s like everything else. Need a holiday, a new washing machine, a recipe for tonight’s dinner? Go online. You’ll find the answer.

But please always check with a real life family solicitor first, especially if there’s a disagreement about the children, or there’s a property, or valuable assets such as a pension. Speaking to a solicitor doesn’t have to cost anything (firms often offer an initial free discussion). And check they are a member of Resolution, an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.

And of course talking to a solicitor doesn’t mean you can’t have a DIY divorce.

But if you need some help along the way a solicitor might be able to suggest a “pay as you go” or “fixed fee” scheme. Compare these to the charges for online divorce – you might be pleasantly surprised. You will have the assistance of a properly qualified and experienced solicitor with personal knowledge of your case. And if your solicitor is local, you can actually meet her.

I have acted for many distressed and heartbroken clients going through divorce and I know it’s never easy. Quite often the emotional fallout is much greater than anyone imagined. But from a purely technical point of view I can tell you that divorces vary tremendously in complexity. Some are straightforward. Some are not.

Let’s take two extreme cases.

A young woman consults me. She and her husband married just over a year ago and it hasn’t worked out. They have no children and they don’t own any property. They’re both young and healthy and have jobs. There are no savings or pensions. There’s been no domestic abuse. They both want a divorce and to move on.

She asks me whether I think she could do the divorce herself, I say, Yes, certainly. I suggest that she and her husband get together and draft the divorce petition themselves. As she’s ready with her questions about the documents I’m able to help her within our free twenty minute discussion.

I advise her she needs a court order recording that their financial claims against each other are over for good. This will protect her if her circumstances change in the future and her ex makes a claim against her. I tell her I can do this for her and will charge her a fixed fee (again you might be surprised how well this compares to online providers in terms of cost and service).

Another extreme would be the man who has been married seven years and has two children. He suspects his wife is hiding valuable assets, and is planning to dispose of them so he can’t claim a share. She was born in another country and is hinting that she will return and take the children with her.

Obviously he will need a great deal of expert legal advice. It might be necessary to go to court to prevent the wife disposing of assets or moving them abroad, and to clarify the position in regard to the children.

If your marriage or civil partnership has broken down and these or any other similarly serious issues apply to you, I would urge you not to delay. You need to see a family solicitor urgently. These are not the sort of issues suitable for a DIY or online divorce.

If there any issues about property, or assets, or children, or if there is an international element (especially if there is the risk of child abduction), you need someone on your side who knows family law like the back of their hand, someone who is prepared to drop everything to do what is necessary to protect you and your children, someone who will give you unbiased and independent advice.

In the long run consulting a family solicitor might even save you money because questions about property, pensions and other assets can affect the rest of your life.

It’s not just about agreeing to whatever your other half suggests here and now, it’s about the future, about where you’re going to live, how the children will be supported, how much you will have to live on in your old age (a vital question nowadays when people are living longer).

A family law solicitor will be able to tell what you should expect to achieve financially.

Anyone going through marriage breakdown needs as many options as possible. It doesn’t have to end up in court (but if it does, your family lawyer will be there for you). Maybe collaborative law or mediation is the answer?

And as you turn the corner and are able to look to the future, do you need help moving forward? Maybe you will need the support of a counsellor to help you see a brighter future?

A good family lawyer will be able to provide you with a range of services herself or be able to give you genuine and unbiased recommendations of services you can use.

I believe everyone has the right to seek the advice of a properly qualified and experienced expert. So certainly look online, but don’t forget to protect your future and the future of your children by organising a free or fixed cost interview with a family law solicitor.

It’s like when you’re organising a holiday. However independent you want to be in your travel plans, you certainly don’t want to fly the plane yourself. There’s an experienced pilot for that.

And that’s the value of a family law solicitor

Did you have a DIY Divorce? Are thinking about one? We would love to hear from you with your opinion so please leave us a comment.

If you have found this post interesting please sign up below for new posts by email.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

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

photograph by Darron Birgenheier on flickr

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Why can’t divorce be cheap and easy?

cheap and easy divorce

by Robert Occhialini on flickr

That’s what we’d all like, isn’t it?

When a relationship breaks down the last thing you need is an expensive and protracted argument. No one wants a fight, well, very few in my experience.

Our legal system tries to get it right but sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that in fact it gets it very, very wrong.

So can anything be done to make the whole process cheaper and easier?

Divorce? Matrimonial finances? It’s all the same thing isn’t it? 

This may sound like technical nitpicking but the proceedings to end a marriage or a civil partnership are run separately, but often in parallel, to proceedings in respect of financial matters.

So it’s important to bear in mind that while there has to be a court procedure to bring the marriage or civil partnership to an end, how the finances are sorted out is up to the couple. At one extreme, everything is agreed and so it’s relatively cheap and easy, and at the other, nothing is agreed and the only way to reach a resolution is to go to court.

Could “No fault divorce” help?

Yes, I think so.

At the moment the only way to avoid having to blame your spouse for their behaviour or adultery is to live apart for two years and both agree to divorce. 

There’s an organisation for family solicitors and other professionals called Resolution which has more than six thousand members who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. Resolution has a new chair, Nigel Shepherd, who has said, “It’s wrong – and actually bordering on cruel – to say to couples: if you want to move on with your lives…. one of you has to blame the other.”

It would definitely be helpful to get rid of the idea of blame. If allegations of adultery and unreasonable behaviour were behind us it would make the whole process a lot less traumatic and would probably make the division of the matrimonial assets easier to agree.

So what’s the answer?

Gary Lineker raised blood pressure in legal circles recently in an interview in the Radio Times when he criticised the role of solicitors in divorces and said there should be an equation for deciding matrimonial finances. He said his online divorce had cost only £400.

I think he must have been referring to the pre 21 March 2016 court fee for a divorce which was £410, and of course this fee does not cover anything to do with the division of matrimonial finances.

If this is all he paid then I can only assume that Gary Lineker and his wife decided not to have a court order confirming their financial situation. Such an order would of course protect them both from future claims.

But he raised two important questions

  • How can we keep the cost of divorce down?
  • Could an “equation” be applied to matrimonial finances?

DIY divorces – do they do save money? Are there pitfalls?

Anyone can do their own divorce and pay only the court fee (now increased from £410 to £550). And, as already mentioned, a divorce, in other words the court proceedings which bring a marriage or civil partnership to an end, can be kept completely separate from the matrimonial finances.

So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do your own divorce and pay only £550. All you need is form D8 and your marriage certificate (or civil partnership certificate). Here’s a link to help you.

Alternatively ask your solicitor for a fixed fee quote. Although you would be paying more than just the court fee you might find it a lot less stressful to have a sympathetic professional handling all the technicalities for you.

Yes, there are pitfalls in DIY divorces 

There are a number, the chief of which is applying for the decree absolute (the decree which brings your marriage to an end) before you’ve sorted out the finances, or, if you have run the risk of applying for the decree absolute before you’ve sorted out the finances, remarrying.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, your spouse or civil partner could die after the decree absolute and you could lose out under their pension. Or you could decide the time has come to sort out the matrimonial finances and discover you can’t because you have remarried.

To be on the safe side, the matrimonial finances should be sorted out before the decree absolute.

What happens about the matrimonial finances? The assets? Maintenance? Your estate if you die?

Decisions have to be made, agreements have to be reached, and ideally they would be encapsulated in a court order to make sure a line is drawn under the whole question.

A court order means that if one of you changes your mind, or if one of you comes into some money, there’s no going back for a second bite of the cherry.

If you are in agreement about the finances it’s a relatively simple matter for a solicitor to draw up an order and to send it into court. Ask your solicitor for a fixed fee quote to undertake this work for you.

An equation for matrimonial finances – is that possible?

Does Gary Lineker have a point? Should there be an equation?

The current system is certainly complicated and confusing. Even though the aim of the court it to achieve fairness it’s not always clear how this is brought about.

The Resolution Manifesto for Family Law calls for reform of the law relating to matrimonial finances. It supports pre-nuptial agreements and calls for guidelines on the division of matrimonial assets. A particular bugbear is the difference between matrimonial and non-matrimonial property.

What is the difference between matrimonial and non-matrimonial property and why is that important?

This issue is often highly fraught. For example, a couple has a range of assets, including the wife’s savings. But she says this is her inheritance from her parents. And what about the money the husband received when sold his business after the couple split up?

Should her inheritance be taken into consideration? Should his post separation profits be in the melting pot?

It gets even more complicated with property owned pre-marriage. What about the wife’s flat? Should this be taken into consideration?

The answer is not straightforward

It would certainly be easy to argue in respect of the examples above that they are non-matrimonial property but sadly it’s not always that simple. Has there been “mingling”, in other words has non-matrimonial property become matrimonial property because, for instance, the couple have lived in it as their matrimonial home?

And what are the couple’s individual needs? Is it only possible to meet them by including non-matrimonial assets?

What does our legal system try to achieve?

Under our current system we are guided by s.25 Matrimonial Cases Act 1973, “Matters to which court is to have regard in deciding how to exercise its powers” together with “case law”, in other words cases the courts have already decided.

And of course the first consideration is the welfare of the children.

At the moment there is no equation for the distribution of assets, no black and white definition of matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets, and pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically enforceable.

Instead our system is based on fairness and the needs of each member of the family.

What an equation could look like

There are many jurisdictions which have hard and fast rules about the division of assets on divorce. For example in Italian family law the matrimonial home always goes to the parent with whom the children live. In Ontario all post marriage property is divided equally on divorce.

These solutions do not have the flexibility of our system where a court can order an unequal division based on differing needs.

How can a flexible approach be better than an equation?

Whilst clarity in these issues is important I don’t think many solicitors would go for a rigid equation. Why not? Because take any couple, take any family, and compare it to any other, and consider how different their circumstances and finances and needs are likely to be.

So I don’t think there can be “one size fits all” in matrimonial finances

Our system actually tries to take into account how different all of us can be. It doesn’t go for the easy route but it tries to achieve fairness. And this is important when you are trying to provide for your children, and for yourself, in the long term.

I believe there has to be a tailored approach in every case but this doesn’t mean that there has to be acrimony and significant expense.

Could mediation or collaborative law be the answer?

If you can’t agree how to divide your matrimonial finances it doesn’t mean you have to opt straightaway for expensive court proceedings.

Perhaps mediation or collaborative law would be the answer? Quicker and cheaper and less stressful than court proceedings, couples can retain control of their decision making and not hand over all the questions to the court.

If you both want to find a way of agreeing the matrimonial finances and you want to avoid going to court then either of these approaches could be the answer for you.

Summary 

  • Cheap and easy divorce? Do your own divorce with guidance from the gov.uk site. Or ask your solicitor for a fixed fee quote
  • Are DIY divorces risky? Yes. Seek legal advice before apply for your decree absolute (which brings your marriage to an end)
  • Cheap and easy settlement of matrimonial finances?
    • A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help
    • Ask your solicitor for guidance on what you should expect to achieve in a settlement
    • If you can’t agree a settlement try mediation or collaborative law
    • Whether you are in agreement, or you reach agreement through mediation or collaborative law, ask your solicitor for a fixed fee quote to prepare a court order confirming your agreement because this will give you peace of mind for the future.

Do you think that financial “needs” should be considered on divorce? Or do you think there should be an “equation” for dividing the finances? We would love to hear from you with your opinion so please leave us a comment.

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

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