Divorce/Dissolution and separation (including financial implications such as property, pensions and maintenance)
When a couple separates, one of the biggest issues is how to divide the finances and property. Our experienced divorce lawyers will work on your behalf to achieve the best possible settlement available to you. We will also discuss with you the most suitable approach towards achieving a settlement with your spouse as choosing the right process in the beginning could save you time, money and anxiety in the long term.
The four main choices for dealing with a divorce or separation are as follows:
Around the Kitchen Table – the ideal solution for many couples is for an amicable financial agreement to be reached by negotiation between both parties.
Mediation – A qualified mediator can assist in helping you find an amicable solution together.
Collaboratively – Qualified Collaborative lawyers can support you in a series of meetings negotiating an agreement together.
Whichever of the above options works best for you, by adopting a negotiating stance, rather than a hostile one, this will help to minimise legal fees and avoid the necessity of going to court to reach a settlement.
All of our family lawyers are accredited Resolution Specialists and either trained collaborative lawyers or mediators.
Whichever option you choose, the following factors will be considered in every case:
- The financial and other needs of any children
- The current earnings of you both
- The potential future earning capacity of you both
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage and income needs
- Any contributions made to the marriage, both financial and otherwise – including looking after the house or caring for children
- The future assets of each party, including accrued pension values
Reaching an Agreement on finances
If are able to reach and agreement with your spouse out of court then we will draw up a consent order giving full details of the agreement reached. You will both sign this agreement and it is then sent to the court for a Judge to check it is reasonable before the court endorses it as a legally binding order.
Finding a Settlement through Court
If you cannot reach agreement with your spouse then an application will be made to the court and a timetable will be fixed. It is essentially a three stage process:
- First directions appointment “FDA”:
During the first stage you and your spouse will have to disclose your financial circumstances to the Judge. We will deal with all the paperwork involved and ensure that everything is in order prior to the hearing. At this stage the Judge is checking that we have all the information we need and will give directions to progress the case to stage 2, for example, whether any valuations of property or businesses are required.
- Financial dispute resolution hearing “FDR”:
Here the Judge will give guidance on areas of dispute and will encourage you and your spouse to find a compromise solution which is fair to both of you. Most cases do settle at this stage.
- The Trial
If the case cannot settle, then a trial date will be fixed and the Judge will hear evidence from you and your spouse and your lawyers before deciding what should happen and making an order which the Judge considers to be fair.
Whilst all our lawyers will strive to ensure the Court’s involvement is kept to a minimum, if Court proceedings are necessary we aim to help you through the process and to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
To discuss which option is right for you, contact either Abby Smith or Simon Thomas on 01480 454301 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org