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Financial Claims on Separation
Quick links on this page:
- Fixed-fee service for financial claims upon separation
- Reaching a voluntary agreement with your spouse
- What financial information you will need to disclose?
- Unable to reach a voluntary agreement with your spouse?
- Matters relating to the matrimonial home
Separating from a partner whether you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting can have serious financial implications. The situation can be made worse if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on how to separate assets, liabilities and arrangements for children.
Holmes & Hills specialist divorce solicitors have a wealth of experience negotiating divorce settlements and can save you time, money and stress by negotiating on your behalf. They will guide you through the divorce settlement process and can advise and represent you so your assets are protected and your rights upheld.
Fixed-fee initial meeting:
You can meet with one of our specialist divorce solicitors for an initial consultation for a fixed price of £50 (+VAT). During this meeting you can discuss your circumstances with a solicitor and get expert advice on how to protect your financial interests without worrying about how much it is costing.
If after your initial meeting you wish to take matters further our Family Team offer two alternative fixed fee services for individuals divorcing or separating from a partner and wishing to make or defend a financial claim.
- Comprehensive advice and support - our family solicitors can give you full legal advice and support from start to finish. This service includes:
- An initial meeting with advice and guidance
- Preparing a financial application for the court
- Completing a financial statement
- Preparing for and representing you at the first and second court hearings
- Corresponding with you, the court and your partner’s solicitor.
For more information on this fixed fee service, please call one of our Family Team.
- Application for financial remedy - If you need to keep your costs to an absolute minimum but require some legal support, our Family Team can make an application for financial remedy on your behalf for a single fixed fee of £75 +VAT.
If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement, a solicitor will prepare a formal, legally binding document which outlines the terms and conditions of the agreement. This will have to be signed by both parties.
Your solicitor will recommend you seek court approval of this agreement, otherwise in certain circumstances your partner would be able to walk away from the agreement. This will involve your solicitor preparing a consent order – outlining the agreement – and sending this to court for it to be signed by a judge. In the majority of cases neither you nor your spouse will be required to appear in court.
Whether reaching a voluntary agreement or are having your matters settled by a judge, you will need to disclose the following financial information listed below. Your solicitor will help you prepare and fill in the forms required by the court.
Assets and investments
- The value of the matrimonial home and any other assets relating to property, e.g. freehold or lease hold property.
- Details relating to money in bank accounts, building societies, savings accounts– and insurance policies – whether these are solely or jointly owned.
- Details of any assets relating to businesses you own
- Pension valuations
- Details relating to any other asset or investment, e.g. shares.
Current or future income
- Details relating to wages/salary, including providing your last 3 payslips and your most recent P60, as well as information on any state benefits received
- Details relating to any inheritance likely to be received in the foreseeable future
- Any other income from any source
Current or future liabilities or expenditure
- Loans, mortgages and other debts
- Bills, e.g. mobile phone bill, utility bills
- Expenses associated with any involved children, e.g. child care
- Costs associated with work, e.g. commuting
When considering whether to approve a voluntary agreement the court will consider the financial information disclosed, along with the following aspects:
- The welfare of any children under the age of 18.
- The standard of living your family had prior to the relationship breakdown
- Your age, your spouses age and the duration of the relationship
- Any mental or physical disability suffered by you or your spouse
- The contributions you and your partner have made, our are likely to make in the future relating to the family’s welfare
- Your and your spouse’s behaviour
If the court considers the Consent Order to be fair, they will sign it and it will become a legally binding document with neither spouse able to make any further financial claims.
If you are unable to reach a voluntary agreement regarding assets and finances when getting divorced, your solicitor will negotiate with the other party on your behalf to ensure your assets are protected and your rights upheld. If this is still unsuccessful you will need to apply to court to have them decide how the matrimonial assets are distributed, this is known as an ancillary case. The court process is outlined below.
Holmes & Hills specialist divorce solicitors will give you expert legal advice and representation at every stage of the process, guiding you through your options and saving you time, money and stress by negotiating and dealing with all the complexities of the divorce claim on your behalf.
The court process:
Stage 1 – Formal application to court
Your solicitor will file a form with court (Form A) requesting that a judge decide how to divide the matrimonial assets between you and your spouse. The court will then set a date for the First Appointment, the first court hearing, and will require you to complete and file further forms with the court. Included in these is Form E which requires the financial information outlined above to be disclosed. Your solicitor will prepare all of the necessary forms for you.
Stage 2 – The First Appointment (the first court hearing)
This will be held 12-16 weeks after the application is made to the court and both you and your partner will have to attend. The judge will ask for brief details on the case from each party. They will then issue an Order for Directions in which they may ask for further information, such as missing bank statements, and will outline the date for the next hearing (the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing).
Stage 3 – The Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment
This will take place 8-10 weeks after the first hearing. At this stage each party’s solicitor will make submissions and the judge will indicate what the likely outcome would be if they were to make a decision on how to divide the assets.
The judge will then give you and your spouse a last opportunity to negotiate a voluntary agreement and avoid a Final Hearing and having a decision imposed upon you both. If you do come to a voluntary settlement at this point your solicitor will inform the judge and the judge will prepare and issue a Final Order which outlines the agreement and is legally binding and enforceable.
If no agreement is reached the judge will have the case listed for a Final Hearing.
Stage 4 – The Final Hearing
This is a formal court hearing. Both parties will be required to give evidence and will be cross examined. You will be asked about your financial affairs, your qualifications and work experience, your earning capacity, personal and matrimonial matters and even any details relating to a new partner if you have one.
The judge will make a Final Order at the end of this hearing which will be legally binding and enforceable. Where the decision on how to settle a divorce is made by a judge, rarely will either party get what they want.
Often the largest asset any family will own, it is important you are aware of your rights and how best to deal with the matrimonial home when divorcing or separating from a partner.
What happens if the matrimonial home is in the name of only one spouse?
If you are married but either your or your spouse’s names are not on the deeds of the family home, that person may still be entitled to a share in the equity. That person will also have matrimonial home rights which allow them to occupy the home without being disturbed.
If you are not married and either you or your spouse’s name is not on the deeds, matrimonial home rights will not be available, but there may be other options available to protect your interests such as entering a restriction at the Land Registry.
In either case, if your relationship is breaking down it is best to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest stage possible so your rights and interests can be protected.
What if my spouse is trying to sell the home without my consent?
If you are not married and the property is solely in the name of your partner who is trying to sell it, you may need a restriction entered with the Land Registry which will prevent your partner from selling the home without your consent. Usually the written consent of the property owner is required before a restriction is entered but in emergency cases your solicitor can apply to court for a restriction to be entered without your partner’s consent.
If you and your partner are married, you have matrimonial home rights which need to be registered at the Land Registry to protect you.
If you jointly own the property but your partner is trying to sell it you should contact the conveyancer immediately as your partner is not able to sell the house without your consent.
If you believe your spouse or partner is attempting to sell the family home and you have an interest or financial stake in that home you should seek legal advice immediately to ensure your interests are properly protected.
Meet our team
Partner & Head of Family Team
Assistant Solicitor in Family Team
Chartered Legal Executive in Property Team
Chartered Legal Executive in Private Client Team