If you are looking for help with financial agreement, claim or settling alongside a divorce or separation our specialist solicitors can help you.
In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings by telephone or video conferencing if required.
Alongside any relationship breakdown or divorce, you may have assets, finances, incomes, properties, pensions and tenancies that need to be considered and the law on what claims are available depends on the type of relationship you have, whether you are or were in a civil partnership, marriage or if you are unmarried.
Financial claims can also possibly be pursued by civil partners, cohabitees, spouses or for the benefit of any children depending on your case.
Child Maintenance and Financial Support
Whether you are married or unmarried you may be entitled to seek support from the other parent of the child in order to meet the child's reasonable needs.
Child maintenance is a legal obligation of a non-resident parent and is calculated based on the non-resident parent's gross taxable income and how often the child stays overnight with the non-resident parent, as well as if there are any other children in the care of the non-resident parent.
If you are unmarried there are options to pursue court applications for reasonable financial provision and "top-up" child maintenance in addition from the non-resident parent depending on their income.
If you are married the court's first priority when dealing with matrimonial finances is for the reasonable needs of the children to be met first.
Cohabitation Assets and Finances
Under English law, there is no such thing as a common-law marriage no matter how long the relationship or cohabitation. Most people are met with shock at the point of breakdown of their relationship when they find that they are not entitled to an equal division of the family finances.
Despite this, there is provision for certain contributions towards the family assets to be considered upon the breakdown of a relationship and if you have children together there is provision to seek financial support to meet the needs of the children.
Divorce and Matrimonial Finances
Married couples have a right to seek financial relief from each other and the courts have wide discretion in dividing assets and finances between spouses based on numerous factors. The right to seek financial relief remains open almost indefinitely and can only end if there is a court order in placed settling the finances or if the spouse seeking financial relief has remarried. It is therefore always important to consider a financial settlement at the time of divorce, even if there are limited assets or finances as this will protect your future finances.
What We Can Do
Given the complexities and importance of family financial matters, it is always essential to seek advice and representation from a qualified and accredited solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and legal options.
We have extensive experience in dealing with all areas of Family Finances. We are members of Resolution and hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law.
Our Past Cases
Below are some family finances cases we have represented and conducted in the past:
Negotiated and amicably settled a divorce and favourable financial relief matter on behalf of a husband
Successfully pursued a financial relief application resulting in a substantive financial order and pension equalisation order favourable to wife
Obtained a freezing injunction on a husband's solely owned freehold commercial property to prevent a sale and thereafter pursued a contested application for financial relief for the wife
Pursued a successful jurisdiction race in the English courts and thereafter represented in heavily contested financial relief proceedings involving foreign assets concluding with a favourable outcome for transfer of joint property to husband and costs order against the wife
Amicably settled a civil dissolution and a clean break between two civil partners, with our client retaining the former family home for an equitable lump sum.
What We Offer You
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a divorce?
Can my spouse defend the divorce?
Does my spouse need to agree to the divorce?
How long will the divorce take?
An uncontested divorce usually takes between 6 to 9 months at a minimum, however it is always advisable to avoid obtaining the final divorce order until financial matters have been agreed and approved by the court which will likely lengthy the time to finalise the divorce.
Do I need to go to court to get a divorce?
Divorce is dealt with by the courts by considering the paperwork and applications. It is very rare that you will need to attend court as this is usually only if there are issues with agreeing who pays the costs of the divorce or if the divorce itself is defended by the respondent.
My spouse has started the divorce process - what do I need to do?
We married abroad, can we get a divorce in England?
I have a Nikkah/Islamic marriage - is this a legal marriage?
I pay child maintenance, do I have a right to see my child?
I am getting divorced. Do I need to get a financial settlement?
We are getting married / entering into a civil partnership - should we get a prenuptial agreement?
I don’t own the family home, can my spouse sell it without my consent?
It is extremely important to protect your interest in the family home. If you do not own the family home, then you ought to have a Home Rights Notice registered against the property. This will ensure that your spouse cannot mortgage, sell or give away part of their interest in the property pending a full financial agreement with you. This is an entirely usual step to take as it simply protects your position if you are not a registered owner of the family home.
I do not have any pension provision and my spouse does – what can I do?
Married couples have rights against each other’s pensions and there are a few ways of dealing with pensions.
One is for there to be a Pension Sharing Order whereby a lump sum of money comes out of one pension and goes straight into a pension held in the other spouse’s name. Going forwards each spouse would then have a separate pension pot.
Another option would be for each spouse to keep their own pension, but for there to be offsetting to equalise the figures with other marital assets, such as savings and investments.
Should I deal with the finances first and get a divorce at a later stage?
If you decide the marriage is over it is advisable to start the divorce proceedings as soon as possible because the Court is not able to make any financial agreement into a binding and final Order until the Decree Nisi, the first stage of the divorce has been pronounced.
I have no assets and have been married for a really long period of time – what should I do?
If you have a long marriage, the starting point generally is for everything to be reasonably equally divided between the spouses and see whether that looks right in all the circumstances.
The first thing to do is to pin down all the figures. Once the figures have been clarified and are clear, it is a matter of looking at everything and working out what solution will best meet everyone’s needs, as far as it is possible to do so.
Does my ex have to continue to pay half the mortgage?
Yes, your ex will have to pay half of the mortgage if they are listed on the mortgage as both of you will be equally liable to the mortgage lender. If any payments are missed, then the mortgage lender will contact both of you for the outstanding balance plus any costs.
If mortgage payments are continually missed and neither of you can afford the repayments pending a financial settlement, then it might be worthwhile agreeing with your ex partner to contact your lender to see whether they would consider a holiday mortgage – this would cease monthly mortgage payments for a period of time to allow you both to save money moving forwards.
Who gets to keep the family pet?
A pet is classed as property and it is generally arguable as to who gets to keep the family pet. Factors to consider are: who purchased the animal; whose name is it registered in; who primarily cared for the animal and who paid for the outgoings relating to the animal. Following this, it is a good idea to think about what would be in the animal’s best interests.
I want to protect my assets/I am not sure if I want a divorce – should I get a post-nuptial agreement?
If you wish to protect your assets or decide to reconcile with a partner, then you may wish to consider preparing a post-nuptial agreement. Post-nuptial agreements are currently not legally binding in England.
However, in the event that you decide you would like to obtain a divorce, if there is a properly drawn up post-nuptial agreement, then the Court is likely to follow what it outlines, as long as people’s needs are being met.
What is the difference between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common?
If you hold a property as Joint Tenants, you hold the property in equal shares and you have equal rights to the whole property. If one of the owners were to die, their share would automatically pass to the surviving owner/owners - this is the case even if a Will has been prepared to reflect that the property is to be inherited by somebody else.
Holding a property as Tenants in Common means that you could either own the property in equal shares or unequal shares. For example, one owner could own 75% and the other owner could own 25%. If one owner passes away, their share would not automatically pass to the surviving owner (unlike those who hold property as Joint Tenants) and instead, their share would pass in accordance with their Will (if they have one) or under the Rules of Intestacy.