When a couple divorce, one of the major concerns is how the parties’ shared marital wealth will be divided between them post-separation. Women facing a divorce will often worry about the divorce settlement ask us “what am I entitled to if I divorce my husband?” Having the very best lawyer on your side can make all the difference in ensuring the optimal outcome in your particular circumstances. Here we look at how the law in England and Wales decides what you are entitled to following divorce (it is worth noting that there is a similar process for the dissolution of civil partnerships).
It is really important to get specialist advice from an expert divorce lawyer at the very start of the divorce process to ensure the very best result in your case. Family law proceedings in relation to divorce in England and Wales are based on the premise that a marriage is truly a partnership. Both the husband and wife will have contributed to the marriage prior to the divorce – be that in terms of financial contributions or non-monetary factors such as running the home or bringing up the children. In determining how to divide the couple’s wealth, the courts will therefore consider what is fair with the starting point being a 50-50 split of the marital wealth, regardless of who the main breadwinner was.
Every relationship is different and so is every divorce. It is expected that someone facing divorce will have many questions. One of the major concerns can be what the financial situation will be post-divorce and will make the parties query what they will be entitled to if they divorce their spouse. It is imperative to get early legal advice from specialist divorce lawyers who understand the complications and intricacies relating to the financial issues of your divorce that need to be resolved this can greatly help your chances of getting the most favourable outcome. They will also be able to guide you on what you will be entitled to following divorce. It should be highlighted that the grounds for divorce generally do not affect the financial order, except in very extreme cases.
For these family law proceedings, the courts in England and Wales will take into account various factors to determine the financial division of your matrimonial assets and this is something that you can get advice from your lawyer about:
For the courts to be able to determine what would be regarded as a fair division of wealth, it is really important to get full and frank disclosure from both parties. This will be used to decide the financial order for the divorce. The correct timeframe for the financial order is between the decree nisi and the decree absolute. The decree nisi is the first official order as part of the divorce, which states that the court is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the grounds for divorce. There are various stages for financial disclosure that need to be followed if there is to be a fair outcome that is legally binding. It is very important to get legal advice from a specialist divorce lawyer right from the start of your divorce if you are to ensure you protect the financial interests of yourself and your family.
To ensure that the court can make an informed decision in relation to the financial issues in a divorce, the parties will need to complete a Form E that details everything about their financial situation. This will determine what each party is entitled to following the divorce. This stage is voluntary if the parties have not involved the courts in the financial aspect of the divorce but can still be very helpful. Again, it is important to get advice from your divorce lawyer in relation to the Form E to make sure you complete it correctly. Form E is a lengthy document and is a very important part of the divorce process. It needs to detail every aspect of a person’s financial situation so that the court can understand the financial assets as well as the needs of both parties. Once both parties have submitted their Form E providing all their financial details, the parties then respond to the other side’s form if they have any questions about the information it contained (this response is known as the questionnaire). There will then be a First Directions Hearing where the court will determine if any more financial information is needed before a decision is made on the financial order for the divorce and what both parties are entitled to. It should again be highlighted that the financial order cannot be granted until the decree nisi has been pronounced.
It is also possible for the parties to agree the financial arrangements without the involvement of the court between themselves. They would then formalise the agreements via the courts as a consent order. The court order ensures that what has been agreed by the parties is legally binding and enforceable by the courts.
As part of the financial aspect of a divorce to determine what both parties will be entitled to it will be necessary for the couple’s financial assets to be valued to determine the available marital pot that will be split as a result of the divorce. This can include:
If there is a business involved that needs to be valued as part of the divorce proceedings it is very important to get advice from specialists that understand the complications in this area since this can be very complicated. At Vardags our specialist financial forensics team can support our expert divorce lawyers to give the very best service and advice to our clients throughout the whole divorce process.
As well as general concerns about what you may be entitled to following your divorce, one area that often causes specific worries it what will happen to the family home. This depends on the particular circumstances of your case and the issues relating to your divorce, and you should therefore ensure that you get advice from your divorce lawyer in relation to what is the best approach in your case. If there are children then arrangements for them post-divorce will be one of the considerations here, together with whether it is financially viable for the home to be kept by one party as part of the financial settlement. There are various tax rules that would apply here, for example in relation to stamp duty, and your divorce lawyer will be able to advise you on the implications here on your financial situation.
Clients are often concerned about whether their standard of living with be affected after the divorce depending on the decision made in relation to the financial division of the marital wealth. Again, clients often wonder what they are entitled to after divorce as part of the divorce settlement and whether this will be sufficient to maintain their lifestyle from before the divorce. This is one of the factors that will be taken into account by the courts in deciding whether to move away from the initial 50-50 split. There are various options available for the division of marital wealth, from a clean break to spousal maintenance payments, depending on your particular circumstances and needs. Note that child maintenance payments are distinct from spousal maintenance.
It is important that you speak to an expert divorce lawyer who can explain what the process is in relation to the financial order of your divorce and ensure that all measures are taken to get the best, legally binding outcome for your divorce. An expert divorce lawyer can ensure that you maximise what you are entitled to following your divorce. They can also advise whether a clean break or spousal maintenance payments (distinct from child maintenance) are more appropriate in your case. It is very important to protect your financial future and at Vardags we can offer you advice to make sure you and your family’s financial situation is protected.
The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.