Finances on divorce

The division of matrimonial finances following a divorce and separation can be extremely complex, especially when there are children involved whose interests you need to protect. During such an emotional time, you can be reassured that FisherWright solicitors will strive to protect your assets in the best possible manner and obtain a financial settlement which will provide you with the security and stability you require to move on in your life.

Whether you are an individual with modest assets or a high net-worth individual with complex assets held both within the UK and outside the UK, our experienced solicitors will be able to assist you. Our solicitors possess extensive experience in negotiating and achieving successful settlements for our clients whether by way of mutual agreement, or through litigation. At FisherWright we believe that in order to reduce hostility, preserve relationships and to reduce the costs of a divorce, the first step is to attempt to reach an amicable settlement with your estranged spouse, if however, such an agreement is not possible we highly experienced in Court litigation for Financial Remedy Proceedings.

For further information on financial settlements by way of Consent Orders or Litigation, please refer to our individual pages or contact our offices for specialist advice.

What are financial orders

Financial orders are orders of a property of financial nature usually made by the Court on divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership, judicial separation, or nullity.

The law governing matrimonial finances is discretionary therefore it may be difficult to predict what the eventual settlement of your matrimonial finance may be.

The Court has the duty to consider all circumstances of the case and it will take into account a range of specific statutory facts as set out in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Section 25 Factors

  • The welfare of minor children – the welfare of minor children is of paramount importance to the Court.
  • The capital and income resources available to the parties, either existing or reasonably foreseeable – Court will consider the employment of both parties and their respective employment status as well as their ability to earn income.
  • The financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in foreseeable future – financial needs will include the needs for housing, and income as well as any legal obligations such as payment or rent, mortgage and any other contracted payments that exist.
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breakdown of the marriage – inevitably the division will reduce the overall standard of living, however the Courts will aim to ensure that both parties attain an equal standard of living.
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage – the Court will consider both of these factors as they may impact employment and the ability to secure a mortgage.
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage – medical conditions often impact the income and earning capacity therefore the Court will take these factors into consideration.
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contributions by looking after the home or caring for the family – the Court considers the contributions of both parties including their financial contributions and their contributions as a homemaker. Further, the Court will consider inheritance received and special contributions which justify departing from equality.

In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring – factors such as loss of rights to pension will be considered by the Court.

The procedures involved and available options

Option 1

Applying for a Financial Order – Litigation

If you wish to apply for a financial order, you must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting to evaluate whether the dispute can be solved through alternative dispute resolution.

If this is unsuccessful you can make an application to Court.

In deciding what order to make, the Court will consider several factors including your available assets, income, resources and earning capacity and whether they are balanced against your respective needs.

The Courts starting point will be to equally divide all assets accrued during marriage including the matrimonial home regardless of whether it was solely owned by you or your partner prior to marriage.

If the Court decides that the needs of any party or children cannot be met by equal division, an unequal division of resources may be appropriate instead.

Option 2

Consent Order – Mutual Agreement

In some circumstances, obtaining a financial order by consent is the most beneficial method.

A consent order is an order which is mutually agreed by both parties before it is put forward before the Court for their approval.

Once it is approved by the Court, the financial agreement will be enforceable and binding and will settle matrimonial finances as well as eliminate requirement of the Court proceedings for a financial remedy.

Please refer to our section of Consent Orders for more information or contact our family law team to assist you further with your query.