Defining Divorce Financial Settlements

A divorce financial settlement is used to describe the financial proceedings which take place in a divorce.

In divorce cases, which are undefended, it is the method the courts use to deal with the separation of assets and finance finances, using what is called a Consent Order.

Understanding Divorce and Separation Settlements

Getting one of these in order is critical because years after the divorce has been finalised, financial claims could come back to haunt you. In England and Wales, you can still make financial claims against your former spouse- with NO time limit.

Why It’s Important to Obtain A Financial Settlement

Getting your finances in order is crucial because it can help you establish financial boundaries about the following topics:

  • Children and spousal payments/maintenance
  • How debt and pensions are divided
  • Shares, money, and savings
  • Property

Your financial settlement can be drawn up at any time during the divorce proceedings.

You can create it before or after the divorce has been finalised. Be sure you complete it before your partner or yourself has remarried. Most divorces take around 5-6 months to complete, so get it done in a timely fashion.

The time it takes to complete will depend on a few factors:

  • How complicated your financial affairs are with your ex
  • Your relationship with your ex-spouse

For most people, reaching a financial settlement will take place within the period of the divorce proceedings.  A Consent Order will confirm the financial settlement.

How Assets Will Be Split

The justice presiding over your case will have the final say on how assets will be divided.

This is dependent upon how long you’ve been married or in a civil partnership. Other factors include:

  • Standard of living/lifestyle plus living expenses
  • Marriage roles- was one spouse a primary earner and the other a stay at home parent?
  • Your ability to find gainful employment
  • Ages of the spouses
  • Money and property

The courts will place the highest priority on children in any case, ensuring that child maintenance and housing of said children are placed above all else.

Your Barrister can help you decide a split that works for you, and we encourage you to speak with them regarding your situation. Many couples begin with a 50/50 split as a starting point and then work from there to decide who should get a little more or less depending on their individual circumstances.

Working Out Assets

The courts will examine your:

  • Bank accounts
  • Debt value
  • Property value
  • Valuables
  • Investment portfolios
  • Household income

To determine how much money in assets you have. You must declare ALL of your assets, and just because they are solely in your name does not mean you will get to hold onto them. Attempting to hide them could lead to fines issued by the court.

Conclusion

Your solicitor can help you work through asset division, settlements, and other associated topics. Your best bet is, to be honest, and upfront about any and all assets and to work at creating the financial settlement in a timely fashion.