1. Can I do the divorce/end our civil partnership myself
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:
- an application to the Court for maintenance pending suit (sometimes called interim maintenance).
- see my recent post What are my child maintenance options?
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.
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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