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Family Law: Financial Disputes
Negotiating finances after a separation can be one of the most challenging parts of the process. It can often seem impossible to reach an agreement, and in some cases, your financial position may be less than ideal.
At Setfords, we understand that this is an incredibly stressful but essential part of your separation, and we can offer specialist support from our experienced Family Law Consultants. They will be able to help with your specific circumstances.
During a separation and/or divorce, it is highly likely that you will require legal support. You are more likely to require this support if you or your spouse:
- own a business
- own a property abroad
- are financially dependent on your ex-partner
- have children under 18, who are in full-time education or have any special medical or educational needs
- There are limitations on your future earning potential
- have any assets in your sole name
- have a pension
- have inherited wealth
- have brought assets into the marriage or acquired assets post separation
Whether or not you have reached a financial settlement with your spouse, there is a duty to provide clear, full and frank disclosure of your finances to each other and to the court. Before making any decisions, it is crucial to understand and assess the immediate impact and long-term financial affect a separation can have on you and your children.
What is Financial Disclosure?
Financial disclosure is the foundation for any process used to deal with the division of assets following a marriage’s breakdown. The process ensures full disclosure of financial information to reach a fair agreement. More simply, financial disclosure is the documents you present regarding your financial position, including all income information, earning capacity, capital and pension entitlements. These documents usually include:
- Bank statements
- Pension valuations, in some cases actuarial valuations
- Mortgage statements
- Land registry documents
- Property valuations
- Business valuations, in some cases a business valuation
- Wage slips
- Tax returns
- Business accounts
- Surrender values for life polices
Both parties need to disclose all relevant information regarding their financial circumstances. Once this has been completed, everyone, including the court, will have an overview of the parties’ financial position which will either help them agree a financial settlement, or provide the court with enough information to advise the parties at the first/second appointment, if financial proceedings have been issued.
What if you are cohabiting?
The flexibility the law provides to married couples does not apply to non married couples. When cohabitees separate, it is important to establish how property and other assets are held. In respect of property are you joint tenants or have you created a tenancy in common? This may affect how the net proceeds of sale is distributed between cohabiting couples. Sometimes it is not always obvious how much each party is owed from the assets. In these cases more investigation and an expert consideration of all the facts may be needed, to establish if you have a legal and beneficial interest in the assets.
Not married or cohabiting yet?
Do you have assets such as property, a trust fund or inherited assets that you do not want to share with your future spouse or cohabitee. If that is the case then before getting married or moving in together, consider if you should consider the benefit of a prenuptial agreement or a cohabitation agreement. These documents can set out what you would like to happen with your assets if you separate. Providing instructions to your Family Law solicitor on these types of documents focuses the mind on how you want to share or not share your property on separation and help avoid expensive legal arguments in the future.
Contact Setfords today to speak to a specialist Family Law Solicitor.