Financial Procedure for Divorce -
Following the breakdown of a marriage, there is generally an issue of finances and how to divide any assets or liabilities within the marriage. Any assets, income or capital that we used to maintain one household during the marriage then has to be used to establish two households following the divorce.
The finances taken into consideration can include income, property, inheritance (see below), business assets, shares, all bank accounts and cars. It will also include any debts, overdrafts or loan agreements. Collectively, this is referred to as the matrimonial pot and represents the money you owned, owed or had access to during the marriage.
Depending on the length of the marriage and other factors, the finances of the marriage may be mixed together, for example in joint accounts or joint names, or clearly separated.
When finances are divided between the parties in a divorce, there is a presumption of equality, i.e. that the matrimonial pot should be divided between both members of the marriage equally. This presumption can be altered by a number of factors, but the courts will first establish whether there are any children of the marriage and how their needs affect the overall settlement.
The court will want to ensure that their needs are met and that they are sufficiently housed. The party that cares for the children of the marriage on a full time basis may require different housing needs to a party living alone. The court will then consider factors such as the need of the parties, their age and the duration of the marriage, contributions and standard of living within the marriage.
In order to achieve the most appropriate financial settlement we will exchange full disclosure of the assets and liabilities of the marriage with your partner. This allows us to establish exactly what is in the matrimonial pot in order to divide it.
If you and your partner are able to reach an agreement through negotiations, either through solicitors or directly between you we will draft the agreement into a consent order which is then signed by both parties and sealed by the Court.
In the event that negotiations do not lead to an agreement, we can make an application to Court to resolve matters. The Court then sets a timetable of hearings to discuss finances. The first hearing allows the Judge to give directions regarding outstanding disclosure. If needed, the matter can return to Court before a final order is given by the Judge. It is rare for a matter to reach a final hearing and it is more common for finances to be resolved through negotiation. We will strive to reach a settlement you are happy with without the intervention of the Courts, but if necessary we can see you through the Court process.
We can help you find the appropriate division of assets to allow you to move forward with your life.