We focus on our clients needs, offering sensible, pragmatic and cost effective advice which works for the long term future of all concerned.
Financial Settlements in Divorce
Bell Lax can assist on all financial aspects in divorce, the most common issues to resolve include:-
- The family home
- Pension pot division
- Investment Properties & rental income
- Investments & Savings
- Company Shares & Dividends
- Spousal maintenance
It is possible to come to an agreement on a fair division of finances, without the need to attend Court, which we encourage, as it will reduce overall costs. Taking a fair and equitably approach reduces the stress of both parties. However should negotiations fail between both parties, the Court will consider issues to achieve a fair and reasonable result for both parties.
Generally the Court will look at:
- The welfare of the children. This will include ongoing financial commitments.
- Earnings of both parties, potential earnings and any other sources of income (this could include investment properties, shares, and dividends)
- The length of the marriage, and age of the parties.
- The financial needs of each person, it may well be, one person put their own career on hold to raise a family (as an example), and has therefore been reliant on the financial support of the wage earner.
- Contributions both financially (large deposits for homes), and contributions to the family as a whole.
- The conduct of the parties, and if there are severe disadvantages for one person in particular.
The Court Process
First Appointment hearing: Both parties attend court and Directions and a timescale is given by the Judge which sets out what information is required (usually property, pension, share valuations).
Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR): Both parties attend court, the Judge will hear any settlement offers, and see any evidence as directed in the First Appointment hearing. The purpose for this hearing is to see if a financial settlement is possible without judicial assistance and the need for any future court hearings. The Judge will listen to both parties, and read any material evidence. The Judge will encourage settlement, and be open and honest regarding any unrealistic expectations. More often than not an agreement is usually reached at this stage, without the need to attend court again.
Final Hearing: If an agreement could not be made at the FDR, a final hearing will be required. A Judge will review all material evidence, and listen to any submissions from any legal advisors and make a judgment.
We have acted on a case involving both parties who were on their second marriage. Their relationship was intermit and our client was retired, with their partner close to retirement age. Our client owned the property solely, and had a healthy pension of close to £500,000. Our clients could not come to an agreement, and proceedings were issued at court, where settlement was reached at the FDR.
We acted for a client who solely owned the property and had healthy savings. After full disclosure was exchanged we successfully negotiated a settlement and kept the proceedings out of court.
It is important that you protect your wealth, fighting over these matters, especially in court, could end up costing you a large portion of the assets you are in dispute over. We have specialist experience in dealing with pension sharing orders and good business relationships with wealth management companies, which reduces the need to attend court.