For any couple contemplating divorce, there are nearly always major concerns that cross their minds, most of which relate to money, as well as children’s issues.
Lorna Tipple, Senior Associate discusses why amicable divorces can become very costly.
“Looking at financial matters, all couples in the process of divorce must openly and honestly disclose all assets including savings, property, pensions and investments.
For those where their marriage has come to an end in an amicable way, this is where things can potentially unravel if advice is not taken, as there could be far-reaching consequences further down the line.
Solicitors will guide their clients through this complicated process. It is such an important aspect to consider during divorce that it shouldn’t be minimised.
Of course, agreement between couples regarding their finances is always the preferred outcome. It is ill advised however, for people to believe that with their finances agreed directly, that there is no need to take legal advice. To the contrary in fact!
The financial position of both parties, their needs and entitlement is not always known, so it is important that a solicitor is instructed. Advice will then be given as to rights, responsibilities and likely outcomes.
Furthermore, any financial agreement needs to be properly drafted and approved by the Court in order to become binding. Couples looking for a smooth transition will find that seeking legal advice on fiscal matters will in fact help to speed up the whole process.”
So what needs to be considered when trying to divide assets?
Lorna continues, “Initially a list should be drawn up that includes all assets in joint and sole names. Any debt should also be listed, and a decision made as to whether this is sole or marital debt.
In respect of income, the person with whom any children live will be entitled to child maintenance. Spousal maintenance may also be relevant and required, depending on the individual circumstances.
Estimated valuations should be made on all relevant property with any outstanding mortgages included.
Pensions tend to be far more complex, as the value of the pot, quite often, is only the beginning – this does not always reflect the overall value. In this respect, expert actuarial advice is required to determine how pensions should be fairly shared.
Not all couples can easily agree financial matters and quite often there can ben an imbalance of power and control. A solicitor can help to open up the communication channels, providing clear advice in order to resolve matters effectively and efficiently.”
A fair, final resolution
“We aim to deal with financial matters as part of the divorce process, in a non-confrontational manner. This allows divorcing parties to negotiate a fair settlement by resolving matters in a balanced way.
Sometimes whether knowingly or unwittingly, one spouse may forget certain assets or not consider them to be part of the process.
Undervaluing funds or property, overstating debts or reporting lower business income or higher monthly expenses can be tempting for some people. Hiding assets is of course completely illegal, which is why it is so important to discuss financial matters with a solicitor.
In our experience, it is often wise to consider issuing court proceedings at an early stage in order to resolve financial matters. In that way, a clear timetable is set by the Court. This simply means that there is a clear end in sight and that momentum can be maintained. In parallel, we will always progress negotiations with a view to reaching an earlier, agreed settlement.”
Should you wish to discuss any complex financial issues that may have arisen in your divorce proceedings, or you are considering separation, please call 0121 248 4001.
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