Maximising Your Financial Settlement: A Family Solicitor’s Guide
As an experienced Family Law Solicitor, I am often asked questions relating to financial settlements after divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. Below, I share some helpful insights.
How can I achieve the best financial settlement?
Within the realm of UK family law, navigating the intricate landscape of financial settlements can prove both challenging and emotionally charged. As a Family Law solicitor, I am well aware of the critical importance of securing favourable financial settlements for my clients. In this blog, I shall delve into the key aspects of financial settlements, to provide guidance and expertise for my clients.
How can I understand a Financial Settlement?
Financial settlements in Family Law comprise the division of matrimonial assets, liabilities, and financial responsibilities following divorce. The aim is to ensure that both parties receive a fair and equitable share of the marital assets, enabling them both to move forward with their lives.
What is a fair distribution of marital assets?
The Role of Equitable Distribution
The principle of equitable distribution governs the division of marital assets. It is essential to emphasise that equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Instead, it signifies a fair distribution based on various statutory factors, as follows:
- Duration of the marriage or civil partnership
- Individual contributions to the marriage or partnership, including financial and non-financial contributions
- The future financial prospects of each spouse or partner
- The health and age of the parties involved
- Any unique considerations or hardships
Is it important to give full disclosure to achieve a financial settlement?
The Importance of Full Disclosure
It is essential for each party to provide complete and honest financial disclosure of their assets and liabilities. Full disclosure is both a legal obligation and imperative to achieve a fair settlement. Failure to disclose assets or debts can lead to severe penalties, including reopening settlements, a fine, or even criminal charges.
What are marital vs non-marital assets?
Assessing Marital and Non-Marital Property
It is important to distinguish between marital and non-marital property. Marital property typically includes assets acquired during the marriage or civil partnership, while non-marital property comprises assets owned before the marriage or, perhaps, received through inheritance or gifts and not used by the parties during the course of the marriage. Understanding this distinction is vital to ensure you receive your fair share.
How do I negotiate spousal maintenance?
Negotiating Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance, sometimes referred to as periodical payments, is often a factor in a financial settlement. I always work with my clients to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in their case and, if so, how much should be paid. Factors influencing spousal maintenance decisions include the duration of the marriage or partnership, financial disparities between spouses or partners, the financial needs of the recipient and the resources of the payer.
Would I pay or receive Child Maintenance on divorce?
For couples with children, child maintenance is a significant component of financial settlements. It is important for couples to understand child maintenance guidelines in the UK and the factors influencing maintenance calculations. For most couples, calculating child maintenance will remain within the jurisdiction of the Child Maintenance Service. However, for those with higher incomes, or an international element, child maintenance will be addressed by the court as part of the overall financial settlement of the couple.
Where do the children live after divorce?
Child custody arrangements, to determine with whom the children would live and how often they spend time with the other party, are hugely important and any agreement reached will prioritise the children’s welfare and their best interests.
Do I have to go to court?
Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
While litigation is an option, it should be perceived as a last resort and my clients are always encouraged to consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, or a private Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (FDR) which in most cases can lead to more amicable and cost-effective settlements. Couples who mediate successfully also benefit from increased control over the outcome and reduced emotional stress.