Property and Financial Settlements in Divorce: FAQs and Specialist Family Legal Advice
Ending a marriage or civil partnership is overwhelming, emotional, and challenging and therefore understanding the property and financial settlements in divorce is vital. With much to consider, it can be easy to become anxious about the various responsibilities that must be addressed.
In addition to managing the divorce process itself, you and your ex-partner will need to reach agreements regarding your property and finances, a process that is managed separately, but alongside, the divorce.
A financial and property settlement is often entered into upon divorce and is a formal agreement designed to set out any financial responsibilities and fairly divide property and finances once a marriage or civil partnership has ended.
As with any aspect of the divorce process, seeking the appropriate legal advice from a trusted solicitor is vital regarding a financial settlement to ensure it is comprehensive and legally binding. In this article, the Tollers’ family law team considers some frequently asked questions regarding property and financial agreements.
If you are looking to commence the divorce process, our solicitors, based in Stevenage and assisting clients in Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin, would be more than happy to assist you. Talk to Tollers at 01483 901 095 or fill out a contact form.
Do I need a financial settlement agreement to get divorced?
Since the financial and property settlement process is separate from the main divorce proceedings, you do not need such an agreement to get divorced. However, without a financial agreement or consent order, your ex-spouse may be able to make a claim against your finances, income, pension, and assets (and you can theirs), even after your divorce is finalised.
In cases of an amicable divorce or civil partnership dissolution, the settlement agreement can be finalised alongside the divorce process and without contested proceedings in court. Once the agreement has been reached, it is sensible to consult the advice of a trusted solicitor to ensure that it is made legally binding via a consent order. A consent order confirms the agreement and needs to be approved by a judge.
How long will the process take?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question, as it will entirely depend on how complex your financial affairs are and how amicable your divorce process is. Ideally, your property and financial settlement would be negotiated in the same timeframe as divorce proceedings are handled.
If your divorce involves dispute or contention, it is possible that negotiating a financial and property settlement agreement can take longer. To prevent any issues between parties from escalating, seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable family law solicitor is vital.
Will our assets be split 50/50?
Sometimes assets, including property and finances, will be split precisely down the middle between ex-spouses; however, this is by no means the right answer in many cases.
Various factors should be considered when assets are split, and your solicitor will advise you on the best course of action regarding negotiations with your ex, taking into account these considerations.
Should the court become involved in proceedings, it will consider factors set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, including:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage.
- The contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family.
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
Solicitors for Financial and Property Settlement Agreements Stevenage and Letchworth
Having a comprehensive legal understanding of your rights, obligations and negotiation powers when creating and finalising your financial settlement agreement is essential. In doing so, you will be best positioned to propose agreement terms that suit you and protect your future financial interests.
If you are divorcing or facing a civil partnership dissolution and require the advice and guidance of an experienced matrimonial finance solicitor, our lawyers in Stevenage can assist you. Having worked with clients in Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City, Hitchin and further afield, we have the expertise to provide practical advice on all aspects of your settlement agreement.