If there are any children affected by the breakdown of your relationship, it’s likely that they will be your primary concern and the welfare of minor children will also be at the forefront of any decisions made by the court.
Our family team can assist you with options for children arrangements and you can find out more on our Children and Divorce page.
Money and property on divorce
Typically, one of the most important, but often difficult, considerations for divorcing couples is how the finances will be handled.
In most instances, the question will be how money, assets and property are to be fairly divided so as to fund the two new households that have been created by the divorce.
The family home will be the main asset in the financial settlement for many divorcing couples, and what happens to it will depend on a number of factors.
The court will look to achieve a fair division of wealth between the divorcing parties and there are a number of different financial provision orders that can be granted, including:
- Spousal maintenance orders
- Secured provision orders
- Lump sum orders
- Property adjustment orders
- Pension orders
- Clean break settlements
Ultimately, the court will seek to establish a clean break between the parties, thereby ending all aspects of financial dependency between the couple. However, subject to the financial circumstances and available assets, this may not be possible in the short term.
If there are children involved, it is often more difficult to achieve a clean break initially, especially if the children and one parent need to continue living in the family home. However, there are a number of orders the court can make that will provide a fixed-term solution.
It is always preferable if parents can agree the division of property and finances as part of a family agreement, as well as an amount of child maintenance to be paid, If child maintenance cannot be agreed, an application will need to be made to the Child Maintenance Service so they can calculate the amount payable and process the payments.
The formula for divorce financial settlements
Despite many people believing that family finances will be split 50/50 following divorce, there is no set formula for calculating the division of money and property on relationship breakdown.
The court will use current legislation and guiding principles to help determine the details of a settlement, but each divorce financial claim will be handled on its own merit and, ultimately, will seek to create fairness.
The factors the court will use in order to determine the division of wealth, and whether spousal maintenance is necessary, are numerous. Primarily it will consider the reasonable needs of each party, their pre-divorce lifestyles, their current and future earning capacities, plus, age, health and other aspects.
Full and frank financial disclosure
Both parties will be required to make full and frank disclosure of their financial situation, including:
- Debts (both joint debts and sole debts)
- Bank accounts
- Real estate property (including joint and sole ownership)
- Company assets
- Offshore assets
- Valuables (cars, jewellery, art, etc.)
- Other sources of income
Failure to disclose a financial interest or attempts to dispose of assets in order to prevent funds being included in the financial settlement can be seen by the court as misconduct and can lead to penalties.
No Fault Divorce and more amicable financial settlements
The introduction of No Fault Divorce in April 2022 removed the requirement for one party to cite one of the five facts (or grounds) in order to seek a divorce. There is no longer a necessity to blame the other party for the breakdown of the marriage or to live apart for a certain amount of time and this means that if the one or both parties decide their relationship has broken down irretrievably, that is enough to be able to apply for a divorce.
It is hoped that this more amicable approach to divorce will help couples begin their divorce financial settlement negotiations with less animosity and more pragmatism.
The family and divorce solicitors at Wellers Reece Jones are able to provide a collaborative approach to divorce and separation negotiations which can lead to successful early-stage settlements. These can be privately agreed and therefore keep the proceedings out of court which ultimately can keep the costs down in the long-run. However, if such an approach is not successful or practical, we can represent clients throughout the court process.
We have produced a number of free-to-download guides about family law issues, including our Guide to Finances and Property on Divorce.
Divorce solicitors in Kent
Our objective is to complete divorce financial settlement negotiations as quickly and straightforwardly as possible and to minimise the stress associated with divorce. We find that this helps to keep the process cost-effective and helps the parties to be able to move on more effectively after relationship breakdown.