Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure

Can I Refuse Financial DisclosureI understand why sometimes clients ask, “Can I refuse financial disclosure.” Your relationship has broken down and now your ex, or your ex’s solicitors, are asking intrusive questions. You object because:

  • you’ve already reached a perfectly sensible agreement between you, or
  • you want your business, inheritance or pension left out of the settlement.

There’s a lot at stake so make sure you get expert legal advice

Why is financial disclosure requested

You’ll only know you’re getting a fair share of the matrimonial income and assets if you understand their extent. Your ex’s solicitor will be advising your ex the same. However this doesn’t mean your ex automatically gets a share of everything. When you disclose you can argue an asset is non matrimonial, for example:

  • an inheritance postdating the relationship breakdown, or
  • a pension you built up before the marriage.

See my blog Ring fence and protect assets on divorce

Further, if your business is small and represents your income, it’s unlikely it’ll be thrown into the mix. See my blog How to protect business on divorce.

What if you’ve already agreed a financial settlement

Did you know that the Court won’t make an order without seeing a Statement of Information for Consent Order. This is a Court form containing basic financial information about both of you.

What is a “Statement of Information for Consent Order” and why is it necessary

This document contains the following information from both of you:

  • details of marriage/civil partnership
  • dates of birth
  • financial agreement
  • summary of means
  • capital
  • income

The Court checks this document to make sure your financial agreement is fair and reasonable.

What if you provide inaccurate disclosure or hide assets?

See my blog Financial Disclosure on Divorce – 10 Things You Need to Know. This tells you about:

  • costs consequences, and
  • adverse inferences, and
  • the worst case scenario, being found to be “in contempt of Court”, and
  • the ultimate sanction, imprisonment.

Why do you need a consent order?

For more about consent orders and how to get one see my blog How do I get a consent order

Can I refuse financial disclosure

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure. 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 Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure 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 Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure Runner in Chicago by Kyle Cassidy on WikimediaThis image has been changed.

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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.

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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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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.

 

image Garrett Tonge, his own work, on Wikimedia Commons

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Make A Fresh Start In 2018?

The New Year is the opportunity to sweep your life clean, throw out bad habits and make a fresh start with the promise of a more fulfilling future. But if your marriage is in trouble, the Christmas holidays might have been the final straw. Is there anything to be done? There can be tremendous benefits from coaching and counselling if the festive season has put your relationship under pressure.

But if you’ve decided to draw a line under your marriage and to start your divorce, we can help.

Have you decided what you want for yourself, and your children?

We Can Help With Your Divorce …

… and guide you through the procedures and advise you how to stay out of Court.

We can advise you what is likely to happen.

You may be worrying about the family home and savings. And how pensions, or debts, or inheritances are dealt with. Perhaps you are keen to ring fence assets. Or maybe there’s a family business. So make sure you pick the right solicitor, a properly qualified professional who specialises in family law. A good indication is if they are a Resolution member.

What You Can Expect From Your Solicitor

In the long run a good family solicitor will save you time and money, and will obtain a better settlement for you than you can get on your own.

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

* 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.

image: Jumping Woman by Exey Panteleev on Wikimedia Commons

 

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Ring fence and protect assets on divorce

Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce
Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce

Is it possible to ring fence and protect assets on divorce? The answer is, yes, sometimes. But this is a complex area: if you are at all unsure, please take advice from an expert family lawyerIn this blog I consider the following questions:

  • matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset
  • can I protect my inheritance
  • can I ring fence my business
  • shall I transfer my assets to someone else
  • how are assets split on divorce
  • what’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?

Let’s start with an example …

I have a friend who’s a magician. Her husband wants a divorce and furthermore he wants half of everything, including her magic cabinet.

Is it a matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset?

Non matrimonial assets can sometimes be kept out of the pot for division. They can include:

  • assets built up before the marriage
  • inheritances
  • businesses

But if there aren’t enough matrimonial assets left to fulfil her husband’s needs – for example for housing – non matrimonial assets can be used to plug the gap.

Is it possible to ring fence and protect inheritances?

My friend is particularly fond of her magic cabinet as her grandfather left it to her in his will. 

Timing is important. Was the inheritance received before or during the marriage, or as the couple separated? And what happened to the inheritance in the meantime. Did they mix it with their matrimonial assets? Did they keep it separate?

Can a business be ring fenced?

I advise my friend that her husband might make a claim over her business – if it has any value.

She laughs. She tells me her assets comprise trick cards and a white rabbit. As for income: she does it all for charity. My friend and her husband live off their wages from their respective jobs. 

What if her business had valuable assets and an income? See my blog How to protect business on divorce

How about transferring assets to someone else?

My friend has a savings account and some shares. She’s thinking of transferring them to her sister.

She risks the Court freezing her assets and imposing a costs order. If she hides her assets she could go to prison for contempt of court. Both she and her husband must give full and frank disclosure of their finances. See my blog Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know.

How are assets split on divorce?

What will happen to their house, their savings and pensions?

I advise her the starting point for division is a fifty fifty split although there are special considerations. These include the care of children, the extent of the couple’s wages and their earning capacity. Also their standard of living during the marriage, and their ages. The length of the marriage is important, too. As is their health. Lastly what the couple put into the marriage financially, and their individual financial needs.

What’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?

The good news is she has met someone new, a fellow magician. It’s early days, and she wants to get her divorce sorted out first, but who knows, this could be the real thing.

I advise her if they decide to tie the knot, she ought to think about a prenuptial agreement. She says she will certainly keep this idea up her billowy sleeve along with her magic cards and scarves.

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on ring fencing and protecting your assets on divorce. 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.

image credit: Ungár Anikó bűvész by Fortepan/Urbán Tamás on Wikimedia Commons

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