It is usually quicker and cheaper to negotiate a financial agreement out of Court. A family solicitor can help you to do this and can make sure that it is in an accepted format and uses terminology accepted by the Court for approval. The Court must approve an agreement as a Court Order (Sometimes called a Consent Order).
You can make a settlement at any time before, during or after your divorce however it is advisable to do so before either of you re-marry as this can complicate the process. It may be best to come to an agreement before the divorce is complete, as this way the Court can grant any orders at the same time as they grant the decree nisi. The long-term financial history of the marriage and any future prospects should be taken into account when reaching any financial settlement.
What type of financial arrangements can be made?
Periodical payments for the children (maintenance)
When children are involved in a divorce there is no such thing as a ‘clean break’, even is payments are made voluntarily. If the Court has jurisdiction to make an order, the amount that has to be paid on their behalf is usually described as an annual sum and is paid in either monthly or weekly sums. The sum that is to be paid in respect of each child should be stated in the agreement.
Usually, this maintenance is paid until the child turns seventeen but where a child is disabled or otherwise dependent, special considerations are made.
The Child Support Agency (CSA)
The Child Support Agency has the power to enforce maintenance payments is there are no voluntary arrangements made. Even if there is no contact with the child or the other parent re-marries, there is still a parental responsibility to care for the child financially.
Periodical payments for the spouse after divorce (maintenance)
After any maintenance for children (if any are involved) is worked out, the Court will look at any maintenance due to the spouse. It is becoming less common for a life-long maintenance agreement to be made and is usually made only for a fixed term. This type of maintenance will not end when and if the recipient cohabits with another partner. The amount paid can also be changed by a Court Order. As with any child maintenance, the amount that has to be paid on their behalf is usually described as an annual sum and is paid in either monthly or weekly sums.
There are no set guidelines that the Court has to consider when making these types of agreements, and it is often up to the discretion of the judge. The judge will usually take into account the full financial situation of both parties, and assess their individual needs and resources, as well as the needs of any children involved, to make their decision. Any debts or other financial obligations will be considered together with the capital of both parties. Pensions and other assets are also considered. It is the Court’s aim to arrive at a fair and reasonable agreement after considering all of the facts and evaluating the various factors that may come into play in each case’s individual circumstances.
What is an annulment and is that the same thing as a divorce?
An annulment is a way to end a marriage, similar to a divorce, however there are different legal or religious reasons why you may want to get an annulment instead of a divorce.
Usually this is because the marriage was not valid.
What information will the divorce solicitor ask me in my first meeting?
JMR Solicitors are always empathetic and treat divorce matters as sensitive matters. We understand that you might be upset to discuss details about the break-down on your marriage, but we will need to know a few things to help you along the way. It’s better to know upfront what you might be asked so here are some pointers:
- You will be asked to discuss the reasons for the breakdown of your marriage
- You will be asked for a date of separation
- You will discuss details about your family structure, such as children in your family
- You will also discuss the assets you both hold, income, savings and pensions.
Please consider the first meeting with your divorce solicitor as a way to gather facts so that we can negotiate and find resolutions that work in your best interests.
What if my ex-partner and I cannot come to an agreement on reaching a resolution on the divorce case?
Your solicitor will explain different methods for you both to try and come to a resolution regarding your divorce case. Such methods could be negotiation with their solicitor, collaboration, mediation, arbitration or as a final resort, litigation. Having a clear understanding of the process involved in each is a good start. Your designated solicitor from JMR Solicitors will be able to help.
What is a no-fault divorce?
Divorce laws in England and Wales changed in April 2022 with the introduction of no-fault divorces. But what is a no-fault divorce, you ask.
A no-fault divorce is when a couple can claim that their marriage has broken down, without the need for one party taking all the blame.
Basically, the no-fault divorce removes the obligation to offer evidence of ‘conduct’ or ‘separation’. Instead, you are required to give a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership.
How long do I need to be married to raise a no-fault divorce?
The new law has stipulated a minimum period of six months, so that means that you cannot get divorced in less than six months.
Who can get a no-fault divorce?
Anyone who is bringing forth a divorce in England and Wales can apply for no fault divorce.