Finances on Separation & Divorce
We are here to offer you specialist advice on separation, divorce and remarriage later in life. Meet our team of experts to provide you with a tailor made service to assist you. At GLC we have experienced lawyers who are specialists in this area of law.
We will do everything we can to help you reach an amicable agreement with your spouse. We can explore settlement between Solicitors or with your Spouse direct. Another option is to refer you to Mediation and support you through that process.
If you choose to separate but not get divorced we can help you to agree a separation agreement.
If you choose to get divorced, for those cases where we are unable to reach an agreement, we will assist you to make an application to Court and robustly represent you.
Frequently Asked Questions
At GLC we know that your home is important to you. At a later time in life you might be living in the house which you have cherished and maintained for many years. Separation and divorce is very unsettling and the idea of having to move house might be a worry for you and something you want to avoid at all costs. Alternatively your house might be your biggest asset and you might be pressing for your house to be sold against your spouse’s wishes to enable you and your spouse to live separate and apart. The best outcome for you will depend upon the circumstances of your case, but we can assist you in giving you tailored advice to fit your current position and help you to best meet your future needs.
At GLC we have specialist solicitors who can tell you whether you can make a claim against your spouse’s pension OR how best to protect your pension against a claim if you are the main pension holder. Pensions are a really important consideration for those in later life because a pension is likely to be your sole source of income when you retire from work.
The Court has a choice of four ways in which to deal with pensions:-
- Do nothing
- Making a pension sharing order, which means that the pension company would have to transfer a percentage of one spouse’s pension pot to the other spouse. The pension cannot be cashed and any transfer received is payed into the recipients own pension policy. We will advise you on the legal process for securing a pension transfer and whether it is right for you in your case. However we cannot give financial advice in terms of future investments. You will also need the advice of a pension’s financial adviser, and we will work with your financial advisor to secure the best outcome for you.
- Making a pension attachment order – this is where part of one person’s pension is, at the point of pay, sent by the pension company to the other person.
- Offsetting the other assets against the pension – this means that one person may get more of the other assets, if the pension of the other is left intact.
It’s our job to work with you and your financial advisor to determine which type of pension order is best for you. We will advise you throughout the process.
Under s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the Court has to take into account the following:-
- the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
- the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
- the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
- in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring
In most cases the Court are looking predominantly at what you need and they work back from there. At a later time in life there might be health needs to consider. You might be coming to or have come to the end of your working life and you need to ensure that a capital settlement secures your housing need and income needs going forwards in circumstances where you will not be ‘earning’ anymore. Our specialist GLC team are very experienced in this area and will guide you every step of the way in ensuring you secure the best outcome possible.
The Court will then issue standard directions, and give the first court date in approximately 3 months’ time. The standard directions are that you and your spouse must both file and serve Forms E within 6 weeks, they must file an up to date chronology, statement of issues, and a questionnaire of any questions they want to ask of the other person. The Form E is a really detailed financial document and requires a lot of supporting documentation, including 12 months bank statements of any account in the name of the person completing the form, up to date mortgage statements, copies of any house valuations, up to date Cash Equivalent Transfer Values (CETVs) in respect of pensions, most recent P60s, copy loan agreements, credit card statements etc. We will help you to complete your Form E and advise you throughout.
At the first directions appointment, the Court usually gives directions for the future of the case. For example, if a couple cannot agree on a valuation of a property, the Court can order a joint valuation at joint expense. If one person is alleging that ill health prevents them from working, the Court can order the GP to file a medical report to confirm the person’s health and prognosis.
Sometimes the hearing can be used as an FDR. Generally the FDR is set up for another date. The FDR is a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment. At this appointment, we will set out your case for you but you will not be required to give evidence at that stage. The Judge also has access to all offers exchanged in the case. The Judge will then give an indication as to the type of order that Judge would make in the case. This is to enable a couple to try and agree matters, without the expense and stress of a contested hearing. If you do not reach a settlement at that stage, the FDR Judge is prevented from dealing with the case any further – it’s passed to another Judge who won’t have access to the exchange of offers. Your case will then go to contested hearing.
A contested hearing is where the Court sets aside time to allow the Judge to hear evidence from each person. They may hear from other witnesses if they are appropriate. After hearing all the evidence, the Judge will then give judgement. This is where the Judge goes through the evidence, says which evidence they prefer, and then makes an order deciding how your finances are to be allocated between you which is imposed on you.
We can explain to you what steps you need to take to protect your children’s rights to inheritance on divorce. At GLC our family team work with our specialist Wills team to help you to plan for your children’s future inheritance when you are no longer here.
Fees: Costs and paying for legal services
It’s our job to estimate what your costs will be when you enquire with us and go on to instruct us.
At GLC we offer Fixed Fees as well as our usual hourly rates. If you cannot afford to pay for our services but you do expect to receive a financial settlement we can explore litigation funding with you, where a litigation funding firm will pay your legal costs for you throughout your case and you repay them at the end when you receive your financial settlement. We will also complete a legal aid assessment to see if you are eligible for legal aid.
We believe in making access to the right advice as simple as possible. Often, we can make a real difference in a single or planned series of phone advice sessions from as little as £75. Call today to speak to our enquiry team for a free initial consultation.