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Support for you

Divorce & Financial Arrangements

When a relationship starts to break down, there is a lot to consider, both in terms of personal and financial matters. 

For couples whose marriage has broken down irretrievably, getting advice early can be extremely beneficial in order to understand the process and to ensure you are aware of the implications of any decision you make.  No-one choosing to divorce has taken the decision lightly but separating and divorcing doesn’t have to be a lengthy, drawn out process involving the Courts. 

Our team of specialist family solicitors can advise you on the best approach for your particular circumstances.  This can include alternative ways of resolving disputes and settling issues more amicably including mediation and collaborative family law.  Helen Cankett, Head of our Family team is an Accredited mediator, supporting couples to resolve their issues via mediation and coming to an agreement themselves rather than referring to a court for a decision.  

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Divorce/Dissolution

We advise couples in both marriages and civil partnerships on the process for separating and about divorce or dissolution proceedings. If you are considering separation or have indeed already separated and are looking for advice, contact a member of the BPE Family team for advice and support to guide you through the situation and put in place arrangements to help your family in the future.

The five grounds for divorce in England & Wales:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. Separation for more than two years (with agreement)
  5. Separation for more than five years (without agreement)

The grounds for dissolving a civil partnership are almost identical, as is the process which is followed, and our team can advise on both.  A sixth ground will be available, from 6th April 2022, which will allow couples to divorce without requiring a period of separation or having to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage.

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Financial Arrangements

How can you separate assets when your relationship ends?

Finances between divorcing couples can be complex.  There may be assets such as property, pensions and investments and one spouse may be partly or wholly reliant on the other for financial support.

A financial agreement should be made to set out how your assets are to be separated and to look at future financial arrangements including what may be needed in terms of any maintenance or pension provision.

This can include agreeing who will remain in the family home or if it will be sold, how to share other assets including property, shares, investments, and business assets as well as who will be responsible for any debts you have as a couple.

If you both agree on how this should be done you can apply for a consent order within your divorce proceedings to make it legally binding.  If you can’t come to an agreement you can use a mediator to help you resolve any issues or if this isn’t possible, you can apply to the court for a financial order.  Our Family team includes an Accredited Mediator who can support couples to achieve an agreement that you are both happy with, without having to resort to court action.

Pensions

Pensions can be complex, yet they can also be valuable and therefore an important asset to consider on divorce or dissolution. If one person has contributed significantly to a pension scheme or one spouse has little by way of pension provision, perhaps as a result of not working, this may be a significant issue and should always be considered.

The Court can share pensions as part of divorce proceedings to ensure a fair settlement is achieved.

Freezing assets

Sometimes it may be necessary to apply to the court for a freezing order.  This might be needed if one party is spending money or selling assets to prevent the other party from benefiting from them financially.  They can be used for any type of asset although it is most often used for bank accounts and property. The court must be satisfied that the asset is being disposed of to prevent the other party benefiting from it.

Freezing assets is not a decision to be taken lightly and legal advice should always be sought to ensure that this is the best option for your particular circumstances.

Separation agreements

If you are able to agree a financial settlement, it is possible to draw up a separation agreement.  These are most commonly used where a couple are using separation as a ground for their divorce or dissolution and would like to start dividing their assets before a divorce is applied for.  The agreement sets out the arrangements for the separation of the couple’s assets and is the best way to evidence the agreement reached.

Maintenance

Where relevant, we will advise clients in relation to maintenance for children to ensure that their ongoing needs are met. 

In some situations, spousal maintenance may also be relevant, particularly if one spouse has earned significantly less than the other or a decision was made for one spouse to stay at home to raise children.

 

 

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