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Divorce Financial Settlements FAQ

Below are some of the questions we are asked most frequently about divorce settlements and finances. Click on a link to see the answer to that question or contact us for more information.

Will we have to go to court to reach a financial settlement for our divorce?

It is possible for a financial settlement to be negotiated without the need to go to court. This can be done between the parties and their solicitors and will help minimise the legal fees and court fees incurred by both sides.

If an agreement is reached by out of court negotiations, it will be checked by the court to ensure that it is reasonable and then endorsed by them to make it a legally binding order.

The majority of divorce cases can be agreed in this way.

If an agreement cannot be reached in this manner, then it will still be necessary to go to court to achieve a settlement. The downside of the court ruling on a settlement is that an element of control is lost by both parties as to the eventual terms of the settlement.

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What elements determine a divorce settlement?

An agreement can be reached either by negotiation between the parties and their solicitors, or through the court process if necessary. The courts will assess how any capital should be divided as well as whether or not ongoing income should be shared.

The following factors will be taken into account:

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What is a clean break financial settlement?

A clean break is where no continuing financial commitments remain between the parties after divorce. E.g. ongoing spousal maintenance.

A clean break can still be achieved in cases where ongoing spousal maintenance would normally be paid, if enough financial assets exist to enable the liable party to transfer a suitable amount that covers the value of any future maintenance.

A clean break is only possible in relation to your spouse and not your children. It is not possible to achieve a clean break in terms of financial responsibility for children.

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Who pays the legal fees for a divorce settlement?

In most cases, both parties will have their own solicitor and will be responsible for their own legal fees.

In certain circumstances it may be possible to include the payment of legal fees as part of the financial settlement if this is included in the initial negotiations.

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What happens to the family home after a divorce?

The family home will usually be an asset of the marriage and will therefore be included in the financial negotiations.

Divorce settlement negotiations start from the point of an equal division of any assets. If one partner wants to retain the family home then they will need to have enough financial assets to be able to offset the value of their spouse’s share of the home and transfer assets of that value to their ex-spouse.

If not enough financial assets are available to achieve this then the family home may have to be sold so that the equity contained in it can be split between the parties.

If the couple have children then this can sometimes mean that one party can stay in the family home with the children. The courts always place the highest level of importance on the needs of any children involved. However, the courts will not allow an unfair settlement to either party, so this type of arrangement will depend on each party’s financial circumstances. If the needs of the children mean one party must remain in the family home, then the parent who leaves is likely to retain a financial share of the family home, which they will then realise at an agreed future date on the eventual sale of the property.

If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.

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