When a marriage breaks down and the parties separate or initiate divorce proceedings, one of the main concerns is the division of the marital assets. The marriage may have been long or short. There may or may not be children. Whatever your circumstances, there is no exact science that can be applied to the division of the assets and liabilities of separating couples.
Instead, each parties’ individual personal and financial circumstances must be taken into account and the outcome will be different depending on the financial position of the parties. The settlements reached by family or friends that have been in similar positions as their financial and personal situations are likely to be different from yours.
Driver Belcher offers a strong dedicated family law team who can advise on all aspects of family law, especially high value and complex financial cases. It is essential you receive legal advice tailored around your personal set of circumstances. We have a wealth of experience in this field enabling us to provide you with specialist legal advice and representation.
We will make sure all of your financial needs and all relevant assets are considered, including your home, other property, savings and investment, pensions and business assets. That way, you can be confident of getting a fair settlement that secures your long-term future. We can also advise on the protection of assets during divorce.
With strong skills in negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, as well as extensive court experience, we can provide a tailored response to match your circumstances and financial needs. We will work closely with you to get you the financial settlement you require, while giving you the level of personal support and attention you deserve.
How we can help you to reach a financial settlement for your divorce
Financial disclosure for divorce
Before you can be advised as to a likely settlement you will need to provide details of your financial position to your husband/wife and your solicitor. This is called “disclosure” and you will need to supply documentary evidence of your financial circumstances. You must make full and frank disclosure in the form of P60, bank statements, pension details, credit cards etc.
Our team can advise you on the disclosure process, helping to make sure you meet you legal obligations and that all necessary documentary evidence is gathered and presented effectively, while protecting your personal interests.
Negotiating a divorce settlement
For most modern divorces, the norm is to agree a voluntary financial settlement. This can allow you to achieve a fair division of assets faster, with less conflict and significantly lower legal fees, while also keeping the details of your divorce private.
There are various methods that can help with reaching a voluntary financial settlement, including straightforward negotiations between the parties and options such as mediation. We will be happy to advise you on your options and to review any agreement you make with your former spouse to ensure it matches your long-term interests.
Where you are able to reach a voluntary settlement, we can assist you with applying to a court for a Consent Order to make the agreement legally binding.
Applying to a court for a Financial Order
Where a voluntary settlement cannot be agreed or is not an appropriate option, it may be necessary to apply to a family court for a Financial Order. This is where a judge will decide how your martial assets should be divided.
When going down this route, it is essential that you prepare with the greatest care, making sure you have clear evidence of your financial needs, the needs of any dependants and all relevant assets. Our experienced divorce lawyers can help you prepare for court proceedings and make sure you have robust representation and close personal support for any hearings you are required to attend.
Our divorce financial settlement fees
Fixed fee financial settlement services
Many of our services, such as applying for a Consent Order, can be offered on a fixed fee basis, giving you certainty over the costs involved in reaching a financial settlement.
Where you need ongoing advice and representation for more complex matters, we will typically charge according to an agreed hourly rate. This rate will be determined by the level of expertise required to effectively deal with your settlement.
Deferred fee agreements
We understand that your financial resources may be strained while you are working towards a financial settlement, so are often able to offer deferred fee agreements, meaning you can delay paying for our services until you have an agreement in place.
Divorce financial settlement FAQs
Are assets always split 50/50 in divorce?
The starting point for the sharing of the matrimonial assets is an equal division. However, this is only the starting point, as this share could be varied up-wards or downwards depending upon the legitimate needs of each party.
Some of the factors that affect the settlement are length of marriage, ages and health of the parties, earnings and potential future earnings, mortgage capacity and many more. If there are children involved, their needs must be given first consideration as it is essential that the children are adequately provided for.
How long does it take to get a divorce settlement in the UK?
There is no set answer to this question as it will all depend on the circumstances, including how complex your finances are and whether you and your former spouse can reach an agreement or whether court proceedings are required.
In many cases, it is possible to reach a financial settlement for divorce in around 6 months, but where court proceedings are required or there are particular complex issues to deal with, it can take significantly longer.
Do I have to use mediation for my divorce settlement?
You will normally need to at least consider mediation before you can take your divorce through the courts. However, if you feel mediation is not appropriate or likely to result in settlement (e.g. where there has been a history of domestic abuse) you may be able to take your case directly to court.
Of course, there is also nothing to stop you simply agreeing a divorce settlement with your former spouse without the need to go through mediation. It is only if you wish to apply for a Financial Order from a divorce court that you may need to consider mediation first.
Speak to our divorce financial settlement solicitors in Southampton and Hampshire
For further enquiries, please contact:
Tel: 01489 785737