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30 Jul 2020

Family & Matrimonial

Divorce: A guide to separating your finances

When you're facing a divorce, you need to know where you stand financially. Our Head of Family and Matrimonial, Kate Thomas, talks through her advice for agreeing on a divorce settlement.

You may be concerned about your immediate financial security or responsibilities, unclear on how to approach dividing up the family’s assets or worried about what kind of financial settlement you might end up with.  However, there are some important points to remember when preparing your finances for the work ahead.

Recording all financial information

When in the process of a divorce or ending a civil partnership, you and your ex-partner need to agree how to separate your finances. Gathering your paperwork may seem overwhelming, but the earlier you get your documents together, the smoother the process can become. You will need to have a record of all bank and building society accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, mortgages and title information.  It also helps to have your most recent P60 and pay slips if you are employed, or two years accounts if you are self-employed.

While some separations are smooth and both parties can agree the details, it is usually advisable that both parties hire a solicitor for advice, as this is a very complicated area of law. If you can reach an agreement, we would suggest that you do need advice for the appropriate documentation to be drawn up, which confirms the terms of agreement and provides protection for both parties.

In any case involving matrimonial finances, there is a duty of full and frank disclosure upon both parties. If court proceedings are necessary, both parties will have to complete a financial statement in Form E which is a lengthy and complicated document. It is a well drafted document and includes the majority of the information needed by the court to resolve the dispute between the parties.

Putting children first

Divorces involving children can be emotional; however, it is important to make clear decisions as the children might affect how the finances are divided. Where the only asset is the former matrimonial home it is often preserved for, the remainder of the children’s minority and the other parent has to wait for their share of the equity.  However, in many cases the residence of the children is often decided by default when one party moves out.  There is often a misunderstanding that mothers will always be granted the residence of children.  In any residence dispute, the most significant factor is the status quo and the court is unlikely to change that status quo without good reason.

Helping the process

Keeping calm and practical will help the process go smoothly and reduce stress for all parties involved. It can be tempting to act in haste, but listening to your solicitor and talking through the options will result in a better solution for you, your family, and your ex-partner.

Our specialist team of experienced Family and Matrimonial lawyers can help you through this difficult time. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Get in touch today on 01633 760678 or contact us here to speak to one of our expert team.

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