Financial Settlements After Divorce

A common cause of dispute during a divorce is a couple and family's financial arrangements and who gets what when the relationship breaks down. This includes pensions, assets, savings, property and responsibility towards any children. A financial settlement after divorce allows the court to start separating assets and finances.

Do I need a financial settlement?

Getting a financial settlement is important because it means that any outstanding financial claims will not hang over you in the years after your divorce. It will give you a court order stating what your financial arrangements and responsibilities are with your ex-wife or husband.

You can often avoid having to go to court if both parties can agree on how to split your money  and property. In some cases you might want to use a mediator who will give you impartial advice and help both parties to reach an agreement.

If both parties agree then it is not necessary to do any official paperwork, however this will mean that your agreement is not legally binding and the court would not be able to enforce it in most cases. A solicitor can help you with the paperwork and also advise you on the terms of the agreement ensuring that your rights are considered and you understand each of the terms.

What to consider in a financial settlement?

Think about how you will talk through your finances with your partner in order to reach a fair and realistic financial settlement. Everybody has different circumstances so you may consider the following;

  • Are there any immediate financial concerns during and after your divorce?
  • Cost for a partner - how much should be paid and if so for how long?
  • Can you afford to keep the family home?
  • What happens to any savings and pensions?
  • Do you want to consider child arrangements as part of this financial settlement?

Is a financial settlement legally binding?

To make it legally binding you will need to get a solicitor to draft a consent order. The courts can then approve this, making it legally binding. The consent order will confirm that both parties agree to the financial settlement and it will explain how your assets are going to be divided. 

This may also include any child arrangements for example payments for maintenance and education. 

In order to get approval, there is usually no court hearing. A judge will approve the consent order if it is deemed to be fair. However, in some circumstances they may wish to change your consent order or make a new court order, telling you how to divide up your assets.

What can impact a financial divorce settlement?

The following are examples of some of the factors that are taken into consideration:

  • How long have you been married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Your ongoing ability to work and earn an income
  • Your living expenses and standard of living
  • Your age
  • The role each partner plays in the relationship e.g. is there a carer?

What if you and your ex partner can’t agree?

If you are certain that you have explored every avenue in terms of trying to reach an agreement, for example, mediation and legal advice, then a court may be able to help you to decide anything that you cannot agree on. In most cases you would need to show that you attended meetings with a mediator, however this is not always mandatory for example in cases of domestic abuse or violence. 

How to create a financial settlement?

In order to apply for the consent order that confirms your financial settlement,  you should have already started divorce proceedings for either marriages or civil partnerships. 

If you need legal advice about your finances after divorce, speak to our family law solicitor now.

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