Many people find that going through divorce or separation is one of the hardest things they will ever have to deal with. So many things require consideration and it can seem quite overwhelming. What will happen regarding the former marital home? Am I entitled to a share of my ex’s pension? How will I manage on one income? As family lawyers, we are frequently asked to advise on how assets accumulated during the relationship should be divided.

The following suggestions may help to minimise conflict and achieve an amicable financial settlement thereby avoiding the need for costly court hearings.

Try to reach an agreement with your ex

Wherever possible, parties should attempt to agree matters between themselves in the first instance. Where relations are strained and communication is difficult, a trained mediator can assist keeping you focused on the issues to be determined and reducing the chances of the discussion getting heated.  Reaching agreement, with the assistance of a mediator and / or family lawyer is much cheaper than going to court and the process is usually much quicker. Where agreement is not possible, and it is necessary to apply to court for a financial remedy you should keep in mind the possibility that the judge may impose a decision on you that neither of you are happy with.

Provide a full and frank financial disclosure

The courts expect parties to exchange financial information voluntarily in order that each is fully aware of the others financial position. Before any offers of settlement can be made it is essential to identify the assets available for division, and assess the future income needs of each party and any children of the family.

Don’t play dirty!

However justified you may feel, it is a bad idea to attempt to hide or dispose of assets, run up debts on joint accounts or freeze joint bank accounts. This sort of behaviour will always backfire on you!

Check your eligibility to claim benefits

The courts expect parties to maximise their income wherever possible, so you should check that you are receiving any and all benefits you may be entitled to. As part of any financial settlement, the courts will consider whether a clean break is achievable and will want to ensure parties are financially independent as soon as practicable.

Make a list of your outgoings

Make a list of essential and non-essential spending. This can help you identify how much you really need to pay your bills and where you can cut back, even if only in the short term.  Once you have a clear grasp on your future income needs you can negotiate more effectively.

Always seek legal advice

The separation of marital assets can be complex and can financially impact you for the rest of your life. While many financial settlements are concluded without the need to attend court it is always recommended you seek independent legal advice to ensure you are receiving a fair deal and that your ex has no future financial claim against you.

Finances with Divorce Proceedings – We can help

For further advice and guidance contact Emma or another member of the family team at Ringrose Law to discuss further. Call Emma on 03333 580393 or email enquiries@ringroselaw.co.uk

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