Disclosure is key to achieving a fair financial settlement on divorce
To achieve a fair financial settlement on divorce, both parties will need to provide full financial disclosure. Only when all assets, debts and financial responsibilities have been ascertained can there be a clear understanding of how much is in the 'matrimonial pot' and the way in which it should be distributed.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula that governs how the family finances will be divided when a couple separates. Much will depend on the individual circumstances of the parties, what they brought to the relationship at the outset, whether there are any children, the length of the relationship, and each party's ability to achieve an income in the future.
This is why it is necessary for the court to ask both parties for financial disclosure.
How does financial disclosure work?
Financial disclosure is a procedure whereby both parties formally state their financial position. Even if you are seeking a settlement through mediation rather than a court hearing, it is important that both parties enter into the process with a full picture of the wealth and assets involved.
Both parties should fill in a Form E (we can help you with this) and provide evidence relating to each point (we can advise you on what documents the court will require).
A court will want to see full details of the following:
- Your income – all sources including interest on savings, dividends and payouts from investments, annuity payments, rental incomes, and salary
- The family home – including details of the mortgage, possible sale value, and ownership rights, etc.
- Your assets – all items you own over a certain value, including jewellery, art, cars, etc.
- All bank, building society and national savings accounts – whether in your sole name or held jointly with your ex-partner
- Pension savings – all your pension pots, no matter how small.
- Debts and liabilities – loans, credit cards, maintenance for children from other relationships, etc.
- Future expenditure – a reasonable forecast of what you expect to be paying out in the foreseeable future
What happens if assets are hidden during financial disclosure?
If either party hides or attempts to dispose of assets in order to alter the outcome of financial settlement negotiations, any financial order made by the court based on the disclosure could be challenged in the future.
Not disclosing assets and wealth is a serious matter in a divorce financial settlement and if the non-disclosure was fraudulent and deliberate, the court has powers to penalise the at-fault party through costs, fines, and, if necessary, a custodial sentence.
When reviewing your ex-partner's financial disclosure details, it's important to spot gaps as soon as possible. If your instincts are telling you that something is missing, or 'not quite right' then it is worth pointing this out to your divorce solicitor so that they can investigate.
How do I ensure there are no undisclosed assets?
Although you cannot ensure that your ex-partner discloses all their assets, they will be signing a 'Statement of Truth' when submitting their financial details and failure to disclose assets carries serious penalties.
However, you must refrain from any unlawful behaviour when attempting to secure details regarding your ex-partner's financial position. If you procure information illegally, the court can also penalise you.
Goodsells Family Law – Specialist divorce solicitor for financial settlement
At Goodsells we are experienced in handling cases involving undisclosed assets and we have the experience to help you seek a fair divorce financial settlement, either through mediation and negotiation or through the courts.
We can arrange forensic examination of the documentation relating to your financial settlement so that any clean break settlement achieved is full and final. We can also assist in matters relating to arrangements for children.
Contact us today so that we can assist you following a relationship breakdown. We will always be open and pragmatic about your case, yet sensitive and understanding in respect of the challenges you face. Our rates are highly competitive and we will be completely open about the likely costs involved.
To arrange an initial appointment, speak to us today by calling 020 7622 2221 or complete our online enquiry form.