Financial provision upon divorce
Understanding where you stand financially
When you are facing a divorce or the end of a civil partnership you need to know where you stand financially. You may be concerned about your immediate financial security or responsibilities, unclear on how to approach the distribution of assets or worried about the kind of financial settlement you might end up with.
Family law work and the financial issues that arise upon the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership has become increasingly complex. The family home, businesses, pensions, trusts, international issues and indeed, whatever the issues you are facing, we never lose sight of the fact that every family breakdown is different and what you need from us is an understanding of your personal circumstances and your objectives.Book your complimentary consultation
Being clear on what matters most to you
Our specialist family law team are highly experienced in dealing with complex and challenging financial cases. It is not just about understanding the law. We listen carefully to what you say about your circumstances so that we are clear on what matters most to you.
When dealing with financial matters in family law we are committed to reducing conflict where possible. If a court application is necessary, we will be proactive in pursuing such application to obtain the best possible outcome for you. At each stage of your case, we will also undertake a costs against benefit analysis so that you are only pursuing a court application because it is beneficial for you and your family
Support for your specific circumstances
We can also call on expertise from our colleagues in other disciplines across our firm. This means that we can assist you with other matters arising from the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership such as the transfer of a family home or other property, transfer of a business, setting up a trust or making or changing your Will. We can support you in a broad range of areas according to your specific circumstances.
There can sometimes be an overlap between financial provision and arrangement for children. Your divorce and family lawyer will deal with all aspects of your case and will be able to advise you on how any financial settlement might impact children’s issues and when it might be necessary to finalise the arrangements for the children before settling the financial aspects of your case.
The Court’s approach
How family finances are arranged on divorce or the end of a civil partnership does not follow a fixed formula. Instead the court will share out the assets in a way that is fair to both of you.
You may have a very different view about what “fair “means. You will need to know what the law says about what is fair so that you can:
reach an agreement or a court outcome that takes account of your legal rights and responsibilities
turn your agreement into a legally binding court order (called a “consent order”)
The court has a very wide discretion to decide who gets what. This flexibility allows the court to tailor make an arrangement and take account of each family’s individual circumstances. However, this flexibility can make it difficult to predict with complete certainty the outcome of any court application.
The Court’s checklist when dividing family income and capital
The Court’s checklist is set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The Court will take account of the following:
- The welfare of any of your children under the age of 18 (the children will come first).
- Your income, what you can earn (known as your earning capacity) the financial resources available to you, your financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities both now and in the future.
- The standard of living that you enjoyed before the breakdown of your marriage or your civil partnership.
- Your age and the length of your marriage or civil partnership.
- Any physical or other disability.
- Contributions you have made or will make in the future towards the family. (Contributions are not only financial contributions but also your contribution in looking after the home or caring for the children).
- Any benefits that might be lost by ending the marriage or civil partnership such as a pension.
- The behaviour of a husband, wife, or civil partner (this only applies in exceptional cases).
The orders that the Court can make
In financial proceedings the Court can make a range of orders to divide money, property and income between a divorcing couple or a couple ending a civil partnership.
The orders are:
- Property transfer orders – normally to transfer a family home or other house or company shares.
- Orders for sale – the Court can order that a house is sold and the monies from that sale distributed between the husband and wife or the civil partners.
- Lump-sum orders – these are cash payments and they can be paid by one party to the other in return for the transfer of the family home, for example.
- Pension sharing orders – the court can divide a UK based pension between a husband and wife or between civil partners to provide for retirement.
- Spousal maintenance orders – These are monthly payments to support a husband or wife or civil partner who needs such support. Spousal maintenance will normally be ordered where one person’s income is not enough to meet his or her monthly expenditure.
- Child maintenance orders – these are normally dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service but sometimes the child maintenance calculated by the Child Maintenance Service can be topped up by the Court where this is necessary.
Examples of our experience:
Successfully appealing an award of spousal maintenance made against our client who was a footballer
We thought that the figure for child maintenance our client was asked to pay was disproportionate to his income. The Court of Appeal agreed and set aside the Child Maintenance Order
Negotiating a financial settlement following a divorce with a very substantial buy to let property portfolio
We negotiated an agreement in a bitterly contested case in which extended family members claimed they had a share in the property portfolio. We assisted our client in avoiding a very expensive final hearing and we ensured that the property transfers were timed to minimise the capital gains tax that was payable
Achieving a fair settlement following contested proceedings for a high net worth client
There were complex issues regarding a husband’s shares in a company that required a formal company valuation.
Memberships and Accreditations
Our family lawyers are members of the national family justice organisation, Resolution, which promotes a constructive and cost-effective approach to family law issues — and that’s why we also have divorce and family law solicitors who are qualified as collaborative practitioners so that we can offer you Collaborative Family Law.
This allows us to work together with other collaboratively trained divorce and family law solicitors to find solutions for your family without Court intervention.
We also have experts who are Law Society Accredited and on the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Panel. Where family law disputes cannot be resolved through negotiation and agreement, we take a firm and proactive approach to court proceedings. It is this experience and outlook that makes us stand out from the crowd.
If you would like to find out more about how our team of specialist family and divorce lawyers based in London can support you then please get in touch.
You can book a complimentary 30 minutes consultation session with our friendly and knowledgeable Head of Family Law, Saika Alam. In the session, Saika will learn more about the challenges that you are facing and talk through how we can help.
We understand that it is so important that you get to speak to your divorce and family lawyer before you make any kind of commitment to use them. You need to get to know your divorce and family lawyer as much as we need to get to know you. That is why we do not make a charge for your initial consultation with us.
Saika Alam Partner - Head of Family Law
+44 (0) 20 7851 0110
I highly recommend Saika as she is professional, approachable and does a fantastic job achieving realistic positive results.
Saika Alam has provided me with invaluable advice in relation to matrimonial matters during the last few years. I have valued her patient, client-centred approach and ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. I would highly recommend her.
Saika Alam is the only person I would ever go to. She has always advised me in the most professional and honest way possible. She works in a way that makes you feel comfortable and you feel you are in good hands. I have referred so many people to her and will continue to do so.