Achieving a financial separation
You are likely to be concerned about the financial implications of your separation both now and in the years to come. Just as it is necessary to dissolve the marriage by way of divorce, alongside this you need to achieve a financial separation to ensure that neither of you can make claims against the other in the future.
The process relies on full and frank disclosure of financial information from each party. Sometimes assets will not be declared or there will be a reluctance to supply the financial information required. In these circumstances we can draw on the expertise of accountants.
Options open to you
There are four options open to you when resolving financial issues on marriage breakdown.
- DIY: Your circumstances may be relatively straightforward and you may be on amicable terms with your partner to such an extent that you feel able to sit down with them and reach an agreement as to how your financial assets should be divided. You may be able to reach agreement privately without assistance from a lawyer. It would still be advisable to instruct a lawyer to put the agreement into effect by drafting a consent order on your behalf, incorporating the agreement which you have reached into a legally binding document, which is then filed at court for approval by a District Judge.
- Mediation: Where you feel unable to reach a direct agreement, if both parties agree to attend, family mediation can provide a neutral environment and the ideal forum for you to enter into discussions with your partner. The aim is to get you to reach an agreement and at this stage a Memorandum of Understanding is drawn up and later when independent legal advice has been taken by each party this can be drawn up by your solicitor into a consent order, which can be filed at court for approval.
- Collaborative practice:: You instruct your own collaborative lawyer. You both along with your respective lawyers, sign an agreement not to go to court. Correspondence is kept to a minimum and issues are addressed in face to face meetings. If negotiations breakdown, a new lawyer must be instructed and the traditional route commenced.
- The Traditional route:: Instruct a lawyer and take advice. Exchange financial information. Attempt to negotiate a settlement. If this proves impossible, the lawyer will file a court application, which will generate a court timetable. It is still possible to enter into negotiations alongside the structure of the court timetable. 12-16 weeks is given for the exchange of financial information in Form E. There follows the first court appointment, followed by the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (FDR), a hearing at which the court encourages negotiations to resolve financial issues. If matters are not capable of resolution at this stage, then matters will proceed to a final hearing where you and your partner will be required to give evidence. Ultimately, the judge will make a decision for you which is recorded in a court order.
Each case is unique, but our aim is to secure a solution that fits your requirements. We aim to resolve cases by negotiation and avoid court proceedings, but where litigation proves necessary, we will fight to secure the best outcome for you. You may find our Finances Survival Guide helpful.