A guide to Financial Settlements in divorce

In our experience, the divorce itself is usually undefended and straightforward. However, sorting out Financial Settlement on divorce (including pensions and property) is often more difficult. If agreement can’t be reached, an application can be made to the Court.

Negotiating a Financial Settlement

It will hopefully be possible for you to reach an amicable agreement with your spouse, with regard to your property and finances. You will still need a solicitor’s help for the drawing up of the legal documents, even if they did not help with negotiations.

Draw up a formal agreement

If agreement is reached without the benefit of legal advice, you can ask your solicitor to draw up the agreement in such a way that it can be converted into a Court Order. A Court Order is legally enforceable and final. It is important to obtain this if you want to ensure any agreement is complied with, and to protect against possible future claims.

What the Court considers

Before making an Order, the Court requires a summary of you and your partner’s financial circumstances to ensure the Order is fair. Where both parties have had the benefit of legal Advice, the Court rarely refuses to make an Order which they have agreed on.

It is desirable, prior to reaching any agreement, for each party to have full knowledge of the other’s financial position. If negotiation is through solicitors, each party’s solicitors will request full disclosure from the other side before embarking upon detailed negotiations and approving a proposed settlement to be presented to the Court.

If you cannot reach an agreement

If agreement can’t be reached then it may be necessary to issue Court proceedings. Prior to going to Court, your solicitor will advise you, based upon available information, as to the range of outcomes.

Court Proceedings

If agreement can’t be reached then it may be necessary to issue Court proceedings. Before commencing Court proceedings, most cases (with only a few exceptions) must be referred to mediation.

Only if mediation is unsuccessful (or is inappropriate) can an application to the Court be made. Commencing Court proceedings doesn’t always mean the case will be decided in Court by a Judge.

It’s possible that, at some stage after proceedings commence, agreement will be reached as a result of ongoing negotiations. If this happens, Court proceedings can be concluded and an Order prepared by agreement for the approval of the Judge, without the need to attend Court.

How much do financial settlements cost?

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