Finances can sometimes be a particular sticking point amongst divorcees or partners dissolving their civil partnership. Both parties will need to fund separate living arrangements, arrange child care, and pay outstanding joint debts. However, this is not always easily achievable without assistance from a family law specialist.
At Morlings Solicitors, our family law solicitors are highly knowledgeable in all areas of financial settlements in a divorce and will explain clearly to you what you are entitled to and the best way to proceed in your individual circumstances.
We have helped both married couples and those in a civil partnership with their financial settlements. Whatever your background, we have the expertise to assist.
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 family solicitors by giving us a call at our offices in Maidstone, Kent or fill in our online enquiry form.
Morlings, along with 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
Voluntary divorce financial settlement
In most cases, the court encourages those that are divorcing to first attempt to find an amicable settlement for their finances.
Our family law specialists can provide expert assistance to help you reach a settlement, including:
- 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
- The amount of maintenance that should be paid to you and your children
Our experienced divorce lawyers encourage clients to reach an agreed settlement through negotiation and mediation. We can help you to negotiate a legally enforceable agreement, which may include provision for a clean break.
If you have reached an agreement the court can approve this by making a consent order which will be legally binding.
Our solicitors will ensure that the settlement terms are fair and reasonable, helping to reduce the likelihood of the court rejecting the order and which will lead to additional costs.
Divorce financial order
If an agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to apply to the court for a financial order.
Our family solicitors have a strong track record of guiding clients through these difficult and often contentious court proceedings. We will handle all legal matters on your behalf and assist with preparation and representation on the day, helping to keep stress levels to a bare minimum with our close personal support and proficient advice and guidance.
Divorce financial settlements 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, but we will advise you when this is appropriate.
When should I agree to a divorce financial settlement?
The most appropriate time to resolve your financial matters when divorcing is before the divorce has been made final, otherwise known as the final order.
Even if you do not have many assets to divide at the point of your divorce, your former spouse could raise financial matters at any time (even years) in the future, so to prevent this from happening, acquiring either a consent order or financial order at the earliest opportunity is important.
What am I entitled to in a divorce?
What you are entitled to in divorce entirely depends on your particular circumstances and the assets available. The division of assets must be fair, and the first consideration is the welfare of the children.
Often 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 the primary caregiver of 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 Order to help them maintain the same standard of living as the primary earner.
What are common mistakes spouses make when agreeing to a divorce financial settlement?
One of the most significant mistakes that people make when arranging their divorce financial settlement, which often leads to the further issues we discuss below, is not appointing a solicitor to assist you with drafting the agreement.
Other common mistakes include:
- Failure to properly consider pensions and the value of them
- Failure to appropriately consider your needs
- Failure to understand that assets don’t need to always be split 50/50
- Failing the seek a consent order following a voluntary financial settlement
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 the parties, this does not necessarily mean that the other owner should get to stay. When you separate, it is necessary to decide who will stay in the family home. In most cases, it is the person with whom the children live most of the time who stays. However, both parties will need suitable accommodation, 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 the house is owned jointly, one party could buy the other out of their share so the remaining owner can continue living there.
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.
It is important to be aware that the court cannot order payments to be made to third parties, including mortgage lenders.
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.
Before reaching any settlement, it is important that all relevant issues have been taken into account and the agreement is clearly drafted to avoid uncertainty.
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.
You can either reach an agreement voluntarily out of court alongside your other financial arrangements or you can ask a judge to make a decision for you.
Usually, the order will last until one party dies or the receiving party remarries or enters into a new civil partnership. Spousal Maintenance orders 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 it may be divided upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution. There are three ways you can deal with 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. It is necessary to apply for a Pension Sharing Order from the 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 the 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 remote meetings to clients.
Our divorce financial settlement solicitors fees
Fixed cost initial appointment
At Morlings Solicitors, we offer an initial appointment to discuss your requirements from £100 plus VAT.
Fixed fees for divorce financial settlements
Legal aid for divorce financial settlements
Legal aid may also be available in very limited circumstances.
Book a fixed cost initial consultation with our divorce law solicitors in Maidstone, Kent
For expert advice about divorce financial settlements, please don’t hesitate to 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.