Financial Agreements in Maidstone

Finances can sometimes be a particular sticking point amongst separating couples. Both parties should be able to fund separate living arrangements, arrange child care needs, and pay outstanding joint debts. However, this is not always easily achievable without assistance from a professional family law specialist.

There are vast differences in the legal rights of married couples and civil partners as they enter into divorce, dissolution or separation proceedings. Similarly, the situation relating to cohabiting couples (couples who live together while unmarried) are completely different.

Our family lawyers are highly knowledgeable in all areas and will explain clearly to you what you are entitled to and the best way to proceed in your individual circumstances. 

Book a fixed cost initial consultation with our divorce solicitors in Maidstone

For expert advice about finances, property and divorce, dissolution or separation, get in touch with our divorce solicitors by giving us a call at our offices in Maidstone, Kent or fill in our online enquiry form.

Morlings, along with the Pengelly & Rylands, Stephens & Son and Bailey & Cogger law firms, are incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our services at our offices in Chatham, Gravesend, Tonbridge and Tenterden.

How our family law solicitors in Kent can help

Whatever your circumstances, our family law specialists can help you to agree:

  • What should happen to the family home and any further properties you or your partner own, both here and abroad;
  • How other assets or personal possessions should be split;
  • How money in the bank and investments should be shared;
  • What should happen to inherited money and income received from a trust;
  • How pensions ought to be dealt with;
  • How business interests should be valued;
  • Who should be responsible for paying any debts; and
  • The amount of maintenance that should be paid to you and your children.

By taking a collaborative law approach, or via family mediation where appropriate, our experienced lawyers can help you to negotiate a legally enforceable agreement which in most cases will enable you to make a clean break.

They can also, if needed, refer matters to the court and help you to investigate your partners financial circumstances if they are refusing to cooperate or if you believe assets and money have been hidden. They can also help if a property dispute arises.

Financial arrangements FAQs

Do you need a financial settlement to get divorced?

In theory, you do not need to settle financial matters before you finalise your divorce. However, the best option is always to try and resolve your financial matters before the separation is officially complete.

This is because married individuals can apply for what is called a “financial remedy” or “ancillary relief” even after your divorce is finalised. Even if you do not have many assets to split at the point of your divorce, your former spouse could raise financial matters at any time (even years) in the future.

The only way to avoid a financial claim in the future is to obtain a court order at the time you divorce. You can either get:

  • A Consent Order – this is appropriate where you have made a voluntary arrangement with your former partner either between yourselves or using a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as collaborative law or mediation
  • A Financial Order- this where you cannot come to a voluntary agreement so it is appropriate to apply to court for a decision by a judge about what is a fair division of money and property

Are assets always split 50/50 in divorce?

Not necessarily because the division of assets must be fair. The starting point for all couples is an equal 50/50 split and in cases where the parties individually have similar financial situations, this may be an appropriate division. However, the court will also take into account factors such as:

  • The income, earning capacity and financial resources each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  • The standards of living each party enjoyed during the marriage
  • Any physical or mental disability of the parties
  • The contributions each party made to the marriage and welfare of the family, including non-financial contributions such as taking care of the home and raising children
  • The benefits either party will lose as a result of the divorce, such as pension entitlements

Depending on the consideration of these factors, the split may not be 50/50. It could be 60/40, 70/30 or any other ratio.

A common scenario is where one party is the primary earner while the other party is primary caregiver to the children. Each party’s contribution to the marriage is equally valuable but after separation, the primary caregiver may require a greater share of the assets and potentially a Spousal Maintenance Agreement to help them maintain the same standard of living as the primary earner.

Who gets to stay in the house during a divorce?

It depends on your individual situation. If the home is owned solely by one of you, this does not necessarily mean that the owner should get to stay. When you first separate, you will need to decide between yourselves who will stay in the family home. In many cases, it is the person with whom the children live most of the time who stays. However, you should ensure that both parties are able to maintain a decent standard of living which could include budgeting for one party to move into privately rented accommodation.

Ultimately, it may be beneficial for the house to be sold so both parties can move on with their lives. Alternatively, if you jointly own the property, one party could buy the other out of their share so the remaining owner can continue living there. It can be helpful to utilise mediation or the collaborative law process to make these difficult decisions, otherwise the court will make the final decision.

Who pays the bills when you separate?

This will be entirely up to you and your former partner. For example, if one party moves out of the family home, the party who stays may take on the responsibility of paying the bills and maintaining the rent or mortgage.

Alternatively, you may choose to equally maintain the bills until the property is sold or you decide who gets to keep it.

If you are finding it difficult to come to decisions about matters such as this, we can provide advice and support to help you find a positive solution.

How does spousal maintenance work after divorce or dissolution?

Spousal maintenance is a regular payment made by one partner to the other where the receiving partner would otherwise find it difficult to financially support themselves after divorce, dissolution or legal separation.

You can either make a Spousal Maintenance Agreement voluntarily out of court alongside your other financial arrangements or you can ask a judge to make a decision for you.

Usually the agreement will last until one partner dies or the receiving partner remarries or enters into a new civil partnership. Spousal Maintenance Agreements can also be limited to a specified period of time, with payments stopping after the term ends.

How do pensions and divorce work?

Your pension forms part of your financial resources so may be divided upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution. There are three ways you can arrange your pensions upon divorce or dissolution:

  • Pension sharing – this involves transferring a proportion of one partner’s pension into a new scheme for the benefit of the other partner. You need to apply for a Pension Sharing Order from court to do this.
  • Pension offsetting – this method does not involve splitting the pension at all. It involves the non-pension holding partner keeping a greater share of the assets to offset the value of the other partner’s pension.
  • Pension attachment – this involves the non-pension holding partner receiving payments from the pension at the point their former partner starts to receive their benefits.

How do investments and divorce work?

Investments and savings are also financial resources that will form part of your settlement upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Like all other financial matters, you can either make a decision about their division and arrangement voluntarily out of court, or by applying to court for a Financial Order.

Depending on how you handle your investments, you may have to pay taxes and other charges. For example, if you cash in on an investment, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax. It is therefore important to take independent financial advice before agreeing to any settlement regarding these resources.

Advising families throughout Kent and beyond

Morlings, along with the Pengelly & Rylands, Stephens & Son and Bailey & Cogger law firms, are incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our services at our offices in Chatham, Gravesend, Tonbridge and Tenterden.

We can also offer meetings by skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad.  In exceptional circumstances, home visits can also be arranged.

Fixed cost initial appointment / Legal aid

We offer an initial appointment to discuss your requirements from £95 plus VAT. Legal aid may also be available in certain cases and is normally always available for defending care proceedings and taking steps to protect against domestic violence or child abuse.

Book a fixed cost initial consultation with our divorce solicitors in Maidstone, Kent

For expert advice about finances, property and divorce, dissolution or separation, get in touch with our divorce solicitors by giving us a call at our offices in Maidstone, Kent or fill in our online enquiry form.

 

For further information please call to speak to one of our experts on 01622 673081