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The first thing to say on financial settlements in divorce is that if possible, the parties should try and come to an agreement between themselves.
This can then be put into a Consent Order by the parties solicitors and sent to the Court for approval. Coming to a settlement this way will save the party’s time, money and a lot of aggravation. However, divorces are rarely amicable and often the assistance of the Court is required from the outset.
The Courts have wide powers when it comes to making a financial settlement in divorce and this includes the power to make various maintenance arrangements and orders, some of which are considered below. There is not set formula for how much the Court will order under a financial settlement and it will depend on the party’s individual circumstances taking into account the party’s capital and income as well as their liabilities.
The Court will always have regard for each party’s future earning potential or any plans to remarry in addition to the standard of living the party’s enjoyed, their ages, any physical or mental disabilities, the contributions each party has made to the welfare of the family and the party’s conduct.
Common questions and concerns that clients have relating to divorce finances where we are experienced in advising include :-
Our expert and experienced divorce lawyers can help with these and many other questions or concerns.
After calculating child maintenance, the Court will usually turn its attention to spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is usually paid over a fixed period of time but can be paid until death, remarriage (not cohabitation) or until the Court orders for it to stop. As with child maintenance, spousal maintenance is also expressed as an annual sum which is then paid monthly or weekly.
Ultimately, the Court’s objective will always be equality (for both the husband and the wife) , that is each party should be left financially independent of the other so that they can move forward with their lives, although this is not always possible. In some cases a “clean break” can only be achieved after a specific period of payments.
In its simplest form it draws a line under any financial ties between 2 parties, and once the break occurs, neither party can make any further claim against the other. Effectively ending any financial interdependence.
An immediate clean break will only be appropriate where both parties, upon financial settlement, are and will continue to be self sufficient. A clean break is usually not appropriate where there are children and there is a continued obligation on one party to pay spousal and/or child maintenance.
It is always advisable to seek to resolve divorce issues without resorting to courts but regrettably, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to try and hide assets. The other spouse may not even know about some business assets and this makes the process of disclosure a vital aspect of financial claims on divorce.
Where children are involved there can never really be a “clean break”. Child maintenance payments are usually expressed as an annual sum for each child, which is then to be paid monthly or weekly. Child maintenance payments are usually made up until the child’s seventeenth birthday, but can continue further to cover their education.
Regardless of how amicable a divorce might be, you should always obtain independent legal advice as solicitors are experienced in dealing with financial settlements and they will be able to make sure that you are receiving a fair share.