Divorce Financial Settlements
When a marriage or civil partnership ends, one of the most difficult things to do is come to an agreement on splitting your finances.
Contents for Divorce Financial Settlements
What is a Divorce Financial Settlement?
A divorce typically structures itself into three categories: the divorce itself, any child arrangements and any financial settlements Arguably, financial settlements are the most complex part of a divorce, as often both parties can argue over who owns what and who is owed what.
Financial settlements determine how matrimonial assets and property are to be split in the event of a divorce. Normally everything that was gained during the relationship is included, however, assets that were gained prior to a marriage, for example, property, can be included under certain circumstances.
Matrimonial assets include:
- The family home and other real estates
- Pensions, savings and cash
- Stocks and bonds
Child maintenance is normally agreed separately to the divorce financial settlement and done through the Child Maintenance Service. However, depending on how much maintenance is to be paid and the income of each party, these may have a bearing on how matrimonial assets are split.
You should know…
During the divorce process, you must legally declare all of your assets in order to avoid a hefty fine from court. Your assets will not be split 50/50. It is down to the court’s discretion and they will base their decisions on many factors such as personal income and childcare.
Remember, debts count as matrimonial assets. So if you, or your partner, have gathered debts during your time together, they will be split during the financial settlement.
You can also consider writing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to outline assets.
How do Divorce Financial Settlements Work?
Finances and childcare don’t automatically come under the divorce procedure.
They are separate processes that require separate attention. As with everything involved in a divorce, if you are on amicable terms with your ex-partner, you can come to an informal financial agreement and avoid involvement from the court.
However, in the vast majority of cases, this is not possible, and you will need to ask the court to rule on how your financial assets are split. The judge will look at a range of factors, including each side’s age, living expenses and parental responsibilities, amongst other things to determine the needs of each side and make a decision accordingly.
Once the court has decided, what follows will be a legally binding settlement which must be agreed on by both parties. This agreement must be honoured by both partners and will be considered a breach of contract if they fail to do so.
You should know…
Judges will typically aim to arrange a clean break. This means that once they have ruled on the divorce financial agreement, there won’t be any more financial links between both sides.
It also means that any subsequent challenges to the outcome are less likely to be entertained.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Divorce Financial Settlements
Divorce financial settlements are complex and the consequences of getting a poor judgement can be far-reaching. Furthermore, if either side refuses to disclose all of their assets or worse, hide their finances, any financial settlement could be further skewed out of your favour.
A divorce lawyer will help you understand what you can reasonably expect to get out of the settlement based off your lifestyle and needs, as well as what you should expect to give up.
Finally, they will help you to structure the required information and represent you at court if a hearing is required.
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