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 is Collaborative Family Law?

What is Collaborative Family Law?What is Collaborative Family Law?

An opportunity to shape your future after divorce and avoid the expense and heartbreak of Court proceedings.

But how does Collaborative Law work? You have a series of positive meetings with your ex and both your solicitors. The process is holistic and aims towards a result tailored to your needs.

You agree not to go to Court …

Yes, that’s both you and your solicitors. This means all are one hundred percent invested in reaching an out of Court settlement. You sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement to:

  • be open and constructive
  • respect each other
  • provide financial disclosure

You set out your hopes and aspirations …

Your Anchor Statement will be your opportunity to create a new and positive future for yourself and your family. Your solicitor will focus on your vision and help you to achieve it.

There will be disclosure of all finances. This is a requirement in any form of negotiation or Court proceeding. See my blog Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know

Set your own timetable and agenda for meetings …

Every family is different and you can decide what’s most important for yours. You may be very concerned about what’s going to happen to the family home. Or perhaps

  • your pension or
  • inheritance

See my posts Pensions on divorce – what can you expect  and How to protect inheritance on divorce

Or perhaps the children are finding it hard to adjust. Family consultants who practise as counsellors or life coaches can help manage the separation and can be directly involved in the Collaborative Law process too.

Lay your cards on the table …

What do you want to achieve? Inevitably some compromise is required. But hopefully by the third or fourth meeting an agreement is reached. This becomes a Consent Order. See my blog Quick divorce or safe divorce? to understand why an Order is always vital.

Your personally tailored agreement and Consent Order will be more relevant to your family than an Order made in Court proceedings. For example you can agree where the children will live and how to co-parent.

Your Collaborative lawyer will help you stand up for your needs and for your children. You will have a positive foundation for the future.

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Contact Collaborative Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial free of charge consultation. In this 20 minute session, she will answer your question, “What is Collaborative Family Law?” and show how it can be a beneficial process for you and your family.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors. 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 What is Collaborative Family Law? 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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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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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 come to an agreement about the matrimonial finances 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.

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

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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