Angela Moores
Formerly of Jarvis Family Law, Harrogate
Family & Divorce Solicitors Harrogate,Oldham,Ashton under Lyne,Stockport Menu

Divorce settlements & finances FAQ

Angela Moores is a specialist in dealing with financial settlements during a divorce. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about divorce settlements. Please Contact us for specific information about your situation.

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Can I reach a financial settlement without having a divorce?

Yes, if you wish to do so, but it is always advisable to have received full financial disclosure from the other party before making such agreement and to receive legal advice upon that agreement (otherwise it may not be of any effect in due course).

It is possible to set out the agreement in writing in a separation deed but that deed is not binding upon any court which may later consider the financial issues. The court may however take notice of that separation deed in the future if further financial claims are made particularly if the process of financial disclosure and legal advice has been undertaken properly at the outset.

The only way to achieve finality and certainty is to obtain a Financial Order within the divorce.

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Why should I record the financial agreement we have reached in a court order?

The court order will clearly set out the terms of the financial agreement nationwide divorce advicereached. It will, if appropriate, dismiss future financial claims to bring some certainty and finality to the whole settlement process.

A court order setting out the financial settlement is only available within the divorce process and then only once the decree nisi has been pronounced. If the order is not complied with, it may be enforceable similar to any other court order.

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How long will the financial settlement take to reach?

The timing of a financial settlement is very difficult to assess as it will depend upon many factors including whether matters are dealt with by the parties voluntarily or pursuant to a court timetable. If pursuant to a court timetable factors will include how complex the assets may be (ie whether they need to be valued by an independent expert), whether each party is fully co-operating with the process and how backlogged the court resources are at the time. In theory it could take 6 weeks or it might take 12 months.

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Will we have to go to court?

The majority of financial settlements are resolved by consent ie agreement between the parties. If agreement can be reached at an early stage it is possible that expert divorce advicethe court order can be obtained without either party having to attend court. Sometimes it is necessary to attend one or two fairly short court appointments where negotiation can result in financial settlement.

The court process is designed to assist and encourage settlement negotiations. It is rare for financial claims to have to proceed to a final hearing. Where one or other party is being un-cooperative or unreasonable in their approach to the settlement, it may be that the court's financial timetable is the only way to resolve issues. A final hearing should be avoided at all times not least due to the cost likely to be incurred and the fact that both parties lose any control if the District Judge has to rule on settlement terms. An agreed settlement can cover a wide range of issues that a court cannot cover.

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On what basis will the court determine the financial settlement?

The court has to consider essentially two issues how to divide the parties capital assets (business interests, investments, savings, the home and other properties, overseas or trust assets, share options and pensions); and how to deal with the income available.

The court has a wide discretion on how financial claims should be approached. contact usThe court will have as its paramount consideration the housing of any minor children. Thereafter it will consider various factors set out in legislation including the resources of each party, the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the age of each party, any health issues, and the contributions made by each party or third parties to the marriage. In relatively few cases one or other parties conduct might be relevant but this is rarely the case.

The way in which a case is approached and put forward in form E (the standard form of disclosure) is very important both in terms of securing the most appropriate outcome for financial settlement and saving of legal costs. Legal advice is needed at any early stage to establish sensible expectations, if necessary to protect assets, and to set up sensible interim provision if appropriate.

Whilst Angela Moores adheres to the Resolution code of conduct ie to conduct negotiations in a conciliatory manner, so as to achieve a good outcome without acrimony (particularly relevant where there are children of the marriage), there are times when we have to provide robust advice to clients and/or take a firm stance with the other party. It is however for the client to provide instruction in response to our legal advice.

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Will it be a clean break financial agreement?

A clean break is where there are no ongoing financial responsibilities between the parties following financial settlement although this does not include child maintenance. Where possible the court will seek to achieve a clean break either immediately upon financial settlement or in the foreseeable future. The same approach is therefore adopted in negotiations. It is not possible to achieve a clean break in all cases.

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How much are the financial procedures going to cost me?

The general rule now is that each party is responsible for their own costs in connection with the financial negotiations or court proceedings.

The court might consider it appropriate to make cost orders against one Free consultationor other party if that party does not co-operate fully, or act reasonably, in the litigation process. This may include non disclosure of financial issues and non compliance with court orders.

Where payment of costs are proving to be a difficulty there may be banks or other institutions which are prepared to assist with the payment of costs by way of loan, overdraft or other facilities. Angela Moores can assist where necessary in identifying such banks or other institutions. Please see out page on divorce costs.

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If these or any other issues relating to family breakdown are problems for you please contact us.