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Finance on Divorce | Civil Separation Dissolution

A There may be few or no current assets to deal with

As such, parties may wish to simply go their separate ways, without obtaining any orders.

However, it may be beneficial to obtain a clean break order, preventing claims against the future assets of either party which can still happen even after divorce. Whilst unusual, it is still possible.

A clean break order brings finality and peace of mind. This can be particularly re-assuring where there may be future inheritance prospects which a party or their family wish to protect. A simple clean break order, if agreed, can be quick and cost efficient. See costs

B There are assets and there is an agreement.

  • As above, parties may feel that there is no need for any court order or formal agreement (see Separation Agreement below). Without this though, future claims are more likely because a party may seek advice, later on, as to whether the informal agreement reached on the division of assets was fair. Further, agreements such as pension sharing through pension splitting can only be implemented with an order.
  • Parties may want an order. This will not only regulate matters i.e timescales for realising assets, allocating responsibilities on payments and debts etc but it will often conclude matters, preventing future claims (a clean break order). Advice will be provided on the fairness of any agreement. Several documents accompany the court order, including a statement setting out each Parties full disclosure in order for the Judge to consider whether it is fair. Several hours of work are normal. See costs.
  • A separation Agreement may be sought. This is a formal contractual arrangement, often beneficial where parties separate but don't wish, currently, to get divorced. It can also be quicker than obtaining a court order. It often states that upon divorce or dissolution, the financial agreement is to then be embodied in a court order, usually a clean break order, bringing finality at that stage. Until that point, a party could still ask the court to depart from the agreement. However, if matters are dealt with properly, it would be  difficult to succeed with this.See costs for our fixed fees.

    A separation agreement can also regulate matters such as, when and who should start divorce or dissolution proceedings, the funding thereof as well as recording any child care arrangements.

C There is no agreement

There are a numerous ways to try and agree or resolve matters in this situation. In all scenarios there will generally be a need to provide full and frank disclosure of both parties' positions. There is a duty to provide this but it is also sensible for anyone trying to agree or advise on an agreement to know what the overall assets are as well as the parties' income or income capacity. This may mean obtaining valuations of assets, including pensions, mortgage redemption figures, bank statements, outstanding debts, p60's, pay slips etc. The exact level of disclosure may vary on the circumstances and what the parties are comfortable with. It is beneficial to have an overall agreed summary of assets and income to work from.

Parties can try and resolve matters:-

  • Through solicitors. This will usually mean providing disclosure and then entering into negotiations to hopefully reach an agreement. Once that occurs, then see above, regarding having an agreement and what happens next.
  • Through Mediation. Again disclosure will usually occur in this forum followed by the parties trying to reach agreement themselves with the assistance of the mediator (a neutral third party). This has a good success rate and allows the parties to control to a certain extent their own agreement. There is often greater flexibility and the parties can seek legal advice if they so wish during the process.
  • Collaborative Resolution. This involves collaboratively trained solicitors and their client's ultimately meeting altogether on one or several occasions in an attempt to agree matters. Such an approach attempts to find a non combative and respectful way to resolve matters so that hopefully the family as a whole is as protected as possible whilst going through a potentially harmful process. England and Co have a collaboratively trained solicitor who can assist..
  • There are other methods of resolution. Parties may also try and agree matters themselves, seeking legal advice as and when they wish. Ultimately if matters can't be resolved then court proceedings may need to be started alongside divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution Proceedings. This puts the parties into a court timetable for resolving matters. See Court Process for further details.

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