When a marriage or civil partnership ends, the parties will need to divide their assets and consider how to deal with income, assets and liabilities. Our experienced solicitors are members of Resolution and the Law Society’s advanced family law panel and we have considerable experience and specialise in representing clients to find a favourable outcome.
Our aim is to assist you to reaching a settlement which you are happy with whilst keeping your legal costs to a minimum and the conflict between you low. Depending on your particular circumstances an agreement can be reached by both parties attending mediation. Our experienced family department will draw up the agreement reached between you and advise you before sending the agreement to court to be approved by a Judge.
Where it is not possible to come to an agreement through mediation or by negotiations we will issue your claim at court for a financial remedy and will represent you by putting forward your case in a robust and persuasive manner to the court. Most of our work in respect of financial settlements are from clients who recommend us to others. In trying to achieve a settlement the court will then take the following into consideration:
- The court will always look at both your needs and particularly the needs of any children;
- The aim is to try to achieve fairness;
- The source of the assets is relevant. For example, pre-martial assets, post-marital assets and inheritance may be excluded;
- Once your respective needs are met, the “sharing principle” will apply to all assets that are available for division and there will only be departure from equality if there is a good reason to do so; and
- Assets are valued as at the date these are agreed or determined at trial.
The ultimate aim is to give you both an equal start on the road to independent living. In respect of the matrimonial home, there are various orders that can be made. For example:-
- An order for sale
- The other party buying your share out in return for a lump sum
- An outright transfer for no consideration
- A Mesher-type Order
- A Martin-type Order
Freezing orders can be useful tools to protect assets, including property and/ormonies held in bank accounts and shares from being wrongfully disposed of by one of the parties to lessen or thwart the other’s claims. Broadway solicitors are experienced in advising and representing clients at court in respect of these applications even where the assets are held outside of the UK.
If there is any possibility that your spouse or partner may give notice to terminate or quit a tenancy please let us know immediately as this may result in you losing your right to remain in the home. An application can be made to the Court for an Order preventing the other party from taking steps to end the tenancy.
How much maintenance and for how long will depend on the individual facts of your case.
There is no automatic entitlement to spousal maintenance on divorce or dissolution. However, consideration needs to be given as to whether it is possible to achieve a clean break between the parties, or whether the needs of one party require maintenance to be paid by way of a ‘top up’ income. A clean break ends financial claims against one another on divorce or dissolution (save for child support).
If there is not enough capital for there to be what the court would consider a fair distribution between you, it can offset those sums against income. This means that a party may be granted a reduced capital sum in exchange for a higher level of maintenance for a longer period of time. The questions the court has to consider is how much maintenance and for how long?
The level of maintenance paid will mainly depend on the couple’s financial needs.
Spousal maintenance can be paid for a fixed term (which might need to be extended) e.g. until the youngest child reaches 18 or for life e.g. until one or the other dies. You can also have a nominal order, which is where nothing substantive is paid, but there is no clean break, leaving the door open for claims to be made later on. A clean break order is where no spousal maintenance is payable.
An Order for spousal maintenance ends as soon as it is just and reasonable and courts tend to fix the term for which maintenance is payable.
The objective of maintenance orders are to enable a transition to independence, to the extent that it is reasonable bearing in mind the length of the marriage, standard of living, the need to house the parties, and the continued shared responsibilities relating to children.
If you require advice about this area of law please do not hesitate to contact us.