Family Law | Financial Settlements and Divorce
When a marriage has broken down one of the first thoughts is often around the finances. Interestingly, you do not need to agree on a financial settlement during your divorce. You can do this at any time before or afterwards, although there are good reasons why you should do this during your divorce.
Firstly, don’t be concerned that the reason for your divorce will adversely affect your financial settlement as this usually only happens where serious and impactful behaviour takes place. Although this does not affect the financial settlement aspect of your divorce, it will potentially affect your access to your children and may mean that you will not be the main carer.
Secondly, any financial settlement in a divorce is based on a number of different factors that will be taken into account by the judge making the order. He will consider:
Your earnings and your ex-spouse’s earnings, both of your needs and also both your assets
What your standard of living was before your marriage broke down
The length of your marriage and your age
What contribution did your ex-spouse and you made to the marriage, such as looking after the home and the children
You can see therefore why each case is different and why the family courts are allowed discretion in making financial awards as the outcomes are not usually straightforward.
You should also factor into any financial settlement items such as your pensions. This element can easily be forgotten and could be a large sum of money. You can also ask for a life insurance policy on your ex-spouse to protect you and your children in case he or she dies and therefore any maintenance payments would stop. You can negotiate this insurance payment as part of your financial settlement.
Once the court has ordered your spouse to pay maintenance, they must do so. If they don’t, you can go back to the court and ask for an order to make them pay the necessary money. This is usually done with an attachment of an earnings order, where your ex-spouse’s employer pays you directly.
In addition, if your ex-spouse is also paying child maintenance and stops paying, you should get legal advice as soon as possible.
The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.
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