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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How do I get a Consent Order? A simple guide

How do I get a Consent Order?
Rosalind Russell in the 1949 movie ‘Tell it to the Judge’ – and that, in essence, is what a Consent Order is all about

  What’s a Consent Order?

You’ve agreed the matrimonial finances. The next step is to get a Consent Order so you know it’s done and dusted. Once it’s made, neither of you can:

  • go back on the agreement
  • come back for a second bite of the cherry.

  How do I get a Consent Order?

Contact an experienced family lawyer because your Consent Order needs to be technically accurate.

  When’s the best time to get a Consent Order?

As soon as you are in agreement. But did you know that a Consent Order cannot be made by the Court until your decree nisi has been pronounced?

  What do I send to the Court?

  What’s a ‘statement of information for Consent Order’?

This sets out your finances. It’s vital to complete it accurately. See my blog Financial Disclosure on Divorce – 10 Things You Need To Know for the dire consequences of being less than frank in financial disclosure.

  What will the Court do?

The Court’s duty is to make sure the Consent Order is fair, makes proper financial provision, and is technically correct. The Court will firstly consider the welfare of any children. It will then consider your –

  • income, earning capacity, property
  • financial needs
  • standard of living during marriage
  • ages and length of marriage 
  • disabilities
  • contributions made 
  • conduct if it would be inequitable to disregard it

If the Court isn’t convinced it’s fair, or if the order is technically incorrect, they will raise queries. These can mostly be dealt with by letter. Occasionally there can be a short Court hearing.

If you want to make sure you come to a fair agreement, read my blog Financial Settlement on Divorce, How To Get The Best One For You – 5 FAQs.

  How can a Consent Order be wrong?

If it’s unfair. For example if one of you ends up with valuable assets but the other doesn’t. But this can sometimes be fair if there are unusual circumstances such as a short marriage. See my blog Short Marriages – 10 Things You Need To Know

  How else can a Consent Order be wrong?

If there are technical errors. The Court can only make certain orders. These include:

  How to get a Consent Order right

The simplest answer is to ask an experienced family lawyer to draft it for you.

  What’s a recital/preamble?

The paragraphs above the words “By Consent it is Ordered“. What’s included?

  • Agreements that can’t be orders
  • Undertakings to the Court (an undertaking is a solemn promise to the Court)

For example to return the oil painting of your mother in law. Or to take turns looking after Rover, the beloved family pet. Or to pay the mortgage on the family home. This is relevant if the house will be yours but the mortgage is still in joint names because of financial constraints.

  But what happens if my ex ignores what’s in the recital/preamble?

You can make an application to the Court for enforcement.

  When does a Consent Order come into effect?

When it’s sealed by the Court, or when your decree absolute is obtained, whichever is later.

  How do I get a Consent Order?

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial free of charge consultation on the question How do I get a Consent Order? 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 How do I get a Consent Order? 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 credit for How do I get a Consent Order? Columbia’s ‘Tell it to the Judge’

 

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Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know

financial disclosure on divorce

Not sure about financial disclosure on divorce? Read this straightforward guide. This blog also tells you what happens after disclosure – something you really need to know! But please make sure you take advice from an experienced family lawyer if you are at all unsure about your position.


1.    What are my options

The answer is there are few because the rule is full and frank disclosure backed up by documentary evidence. Hiding assets or income will only serve to drag out negotiations. Furthermore it can result in an expensive and never ending Court case. And can end in imprisonment.

2.    But is it actually a matrimonial asset

This is a vital question but it’s addressed after disclosure.  So yes, you have to disclose all of the following:

  • house you owned pre-marriage
  • pension you paid into since you started work
  • inheritance that post dated your separation

But disclosing an asset doesn’t mean you lose it. Why? Because there may be good reasons why some or all of it should be ring fenced. See my blog Ring fence and protect assets on divorce.

3.    Is disclosure inevitable

Whether it’s voluntary or part of the Court process, at some stage it’s likely you will be called upon to disclose your assets and income. This is in a:

4.    Can I hide my assets in a new account or business

That won’t work either. These are all disclosable, even assets in a trust. By all means argue that the trust should not be taken into consideration after you have disclosed it.

5.    What happens if I don’t disclose my assets

You will be surprised how inquisitive divorce lawyers can be – not to mention forensic accountants. As a result of their investigations your ex could make an application to the Court for you to disclose the asset and all relevant documentation relating to it.

6.    But how bad can it really get 

Worst case scenario, you end up in prison for contempt of court. More likely is a costs order and “adverse inferences” being drawn as to the extent of your assets. If this happens the Court can decide you’ve got more assets than you’re letting on. This can mean an order for a larger share to your ex – not a good outcome.

7.    Will I get away with it

Have you hidden away an asset, or a lucrative plan for your business, and no one has noticed – yet? You will always be looking over your shoulder as your failure to disclose is likely to be discovered.

8.   What if the order has been made

Cases of non disclosure or fraudulent disclosure are treated severely. The Court can overturn the order finalising the matrimonial finances – you will find yourself back at square one again: older, wiser, but sadly a great deal lighter in your pocket.

9. Is financial disclosure on divorce a good idea

Yes, it leads to:

  • quicker and easier outcomes
  • lower legal costs
  • less emotional fallout for you and the children

10. What happens after financial disclosure on divorce

See my blogs What happens after financial disclosure on divorce part 1, part 2 and part 3 for a guide to:

  • filling in Form E
  • Court timetable
  • concise statement of issues
  • chronology
  • questionnaire
  • First Appointment
  • FDR

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Financial Disclosure on Divorce. 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 Financial Disclosure on Divorce 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 Financial Disclosure on Divorce A Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) landing on its nest by Böhringer on WikiMedia

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