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Divorce finances FAQ

Below are some of the questions we are frequently asked about divorce settlements. Click on a link to see the answer or contact us for more information.


How is a divorce settlement arrived at?

An agreement can be reached in one of two ways; either by negotiation between the parties and their solicitors, or through the Court process if necessary. The Courts will assess how any assets should be divided as well as whether or not income should be shared.

The negotiation of a financial settlement will take into account the following factors:

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What is a clean break financial settlement?

A clean break financial settlement is where no ongoing financial commitments remain between the parties after the agreement.

A clean break may even be possible 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.

A clean break is only possible in relation to your spouse and not your children. It is not possible to achieve a clean break in terms of financial responsibility for children.

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

A divorce settlement can be negotiated between the parties, with the assistance of their solicitors, without the need to go to Court for any hearing. If this can be achieved then it can also help to minimise the legal fees incurred by both sides.

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

The majority of divorce settlements are agreed  in this way.

If an agreement cannot be reached in this manner then it will be necessary to go to Court to achieve a judgment if an agreement cannot be reached during the process. The downside of going to Court is that a degree of control is lost by both parties as to the eventual terms of the settlement.

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Who pays the legal fees for a divorce settlement?

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

In certain 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 in a divorce settlement?

When the family home is an asset of the marriage it will be included in the financial negotiations. Settlement negotiations start from the point of an equal division of assets between the parties. If one party wishes to retain the family home, they will need to have enough other assets to be able to offset the value of their partner’s share of the home by transferring assets of that value to their ex spouse.

If this is not possible then the family home may have to be sold so that the equity contained in it can be split between the parties.

If the couple have children then this may mean that one party can stay in the family home with the children. The Courts always place a high level of importance on the needs of any children involved. However, the Courts will not allow an unfair settlement to either party, so this type of arrangement will depend on the other partner’s financial circumstances and their ability to afford a second home to live in. The partner leaving the home can maintain a financial share of the family home, which they will realise at an agreed future date on the eventual sale of the property.

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Am I entitled to spousal maintenance after a divorce?

Spousal maintenance depends on many factors including:contact us

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.

Alternatively, 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.

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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Two members of our Family law team are members of Resolution.resolution family lawyers
Members of Resolution are required to follow the Resolution code of practice which commits family lawyers to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way, preserving people’s dignity and encouraging agreements.