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Divorce Finances and Settlements FAQ

There are certain questions that we are frequently asked about divorce settlements and finances. We have answered some of them below to help you. Click on a link to see the answer to that question or for more detailed and personalised information please contact us.

Will we have to go to Court to reach a financial settlement in our divorce?

It is not always necessary to go to Court to reach a financial settlement. Your divorce solicitors can help you to try and negotiate a settlement with your ex-spouse. This can also help to minimise the legal fees incurred by both us

If an agreement is reached it will be checked by the Court to ensure that it is reasonable and then endorsed by them to make it a legally binding order.

The majority of divorce cases can be agreed in this way.

If an agreement cannot be reached by negotiation, either due to one or both parties being uncooperative or unreasonable, then it will be necessary to go to Court to achieve an agreement.

The downside of the Courts' ruling on a settlement is that a degree of control is lost by both parties as to the eventual terms of the settlement.

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How is a divorce financial settlement arrived at?

The negotiation of a financial settlement, whether through direct negotiation or by going to Court, will take into account the following factors:

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What is a clean break financial settlement?

A clean break is a type of financial settlement where no ongoing financial commitments remain between the ex-spouses. It may be possible to achieve a clean break in cases where ongoing spousal maintenance would normally be payable, if enough assets exist to enable the liable party to transfer a suitable amount to offset the future maintenance liability. Please contact us for more information on this.

A clean break financial settlement is only possible in relation to your spouse and not your children. Every parent has an ongoing financial obligation to their children whilst they are minors.

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Who pays the legal fees for a divorce settlement?

Usually, both spouses will have their own solicitor and will be responsible for their own legal fees.

In some circumstances it may be possible to include the payment of legal fees as part of the financial settlement if this is included in the negotiations.

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What happens to the family home after a divorce?

The family home will usually be an asset of the marriage and will therefore be included in the financial settlement negotiations.

Divorce settlement negotiations start from the basis of an equal division of assets between the spouses. If one spouse wishes to retain the family home then they will need to have enough other assets to be able to offset the value of their partners share of the home by transferring assets of that value to their ex-spouse.

If not enough assets are available to achieve this then the family home may have to be sold so that the equity contained in it can be split between the spouses.

When children are involved then this will have a bearing on the settlement. If the divorcing couple have children this can sometimes mean that one spouse will stay in the family home with the children.

The Courts will always place the needs of the children first. However, the Courts will not allow an unfair settlement to either spouse, so this type of arrangement will depend on the other parties financial circumstances and their ability to afford a second home to live in. The partner leaving the home may be able to maintain a financial share of the family home, which they will realise at an agreed future date when the property is sold.

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Am I entitled to maintenance from my ex-spouse after a divorce?

Spousal maintenance depends on many factors, including:

As an example, if a young couple with no children have been married for only a short time and both are working, then it may be fair for them both to leave the marriage with no ongoing financial ties and taking with them what they brought into the marriage.

Another example is if a couple have been married for 25 years and by agreement the wife gave up a career to bring up the family at home, while the husband became the sole bread winner, then the wife’s future earnings capability may be severely compromised by this joint decision.

In these circumstances the wife should not be penalised for her lack of earnings ability and may be entitled to ongoing spousal maintenance.

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