Matrimonial Finance & Divorce Settlements

The Courts have a wide discretion as to how they distribute the income and assets of couples following a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. No case is ever the same so it is important for both spouses to have appropriate legal advice about their divorce settlement.

It is possible for you to reach an agreement about your finances on your own and this is usually preferential to going to Court. However, most people need some advice on the fairness of the agreement and assistance with preparing the legal documents that must be sent to the Court for approval.

Many couples do not manage to come to an agreement and that is where specialist legal advice on matrimonial finance is most helpful.

What is Matrimonial Finance?

When you get divorced or dissolve a civil partnership, all of your assets including money, investments and property are considered to belong to both of you, regardless of whose name they were purchased in.  They are called Matrimonial Assets and sometimes referred to as Marital Assets.  In most instances, debts are also considered to belong to both of you and are referred to as Matrimonial Debt or liabilities. Matrimonial finance is the separation of your finances, including the allocation of marital assets and debts.  The aim is to reach a financial settlement that meets the needs of everyone in the family without putting one person under undue pressure or hardship. Reaching a financial settlement on divorce used to be referred to as Ancillary Relief.

What does the Court consider when making a decision about Marital Assets?

Whether you are able agree your financial arrangements independently or require the intervention of the Court, your Matrimonial Finance Settlement must be approved by the Court for it to be legally binding.  Some organisations will not be able to take action regarding the division of your finances without a Court Order.

The Court will take a number of factors into account when considering how your finances should be divided.  At the top of that list are the needs of any children of the marriage and second to those are the needs of you and your former spouse.  There are other relevant factors, for example your ages, earning capacity, the length of marriage and any contribution made by the each spouse before the marriage.  A well drafted Pre-nuptial Agreement or Post-nuptial Agreement will also be taken into consideration and almost certainly upheld if it meets the Court's criteria.

It is worth noting that although it is still possible for Spousal Maintenance to be awarded, the Court prefers arrangements which achieve a clean financial break in a specified period of time.

How can a Divorce Solicitor help?

We understand that the breakdown of a relationship is a traumatic experience and it can be almost impossible to see a way through to agree a fair division of assets. We know that no matter what the circumstances there is always a solution.

Negotiating a divorce settlement is a skilled and often complex task.  We will draw on our own experience of financial settlements and that of other trusted professionals we have built a relationship with to reach the right settlement for you.  When needed we will involve forensic accountants to track assets, barristers, pensions' actuaries, life coaches, valuers, mediators and other professionals.

As a matter of best practice, we always try to avoid lengthy and costly Court proceedings, but we are skilled litigators and will take your matter to Court if it is necessary.  We will help you make that judgement call should we feel that Court may be in your best interests.  You can read more about the Alternatives to Court here.

Legal Advice

Allard Bailey specialises in matrimonial finance and divorce settlements. Speak confidentially to our team of London-based lawyers today on 020 7993 2936 or make a Contact Request here.  Alternatively, you can Get Started Online to receive a Free Confidential Report outlining your position.

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