Divorce settlements

It is a common outcome, in the midst of the overall emotional turmoil and upheaval of a divorce, for clients to blame Judges, the courts, their lawyers and the world at large if they don’t get the financial outcome they think is right, but this is such an inherently difficult area.

We have deliberately tagged this page “divorce settlements” and settlements is perhaps the key word. In almost every case, it is worth the divorcing parties at least trying to reach a settlement without going all the way to a final hearing. We appreciate this is often easier said than do, as it of course takes “2 to tango” but an approach based on a hardcore negotiating position, especially based on emotion, will rarely help. In most divorces, the problem is that there are simply not enough assets to be divided to enable the parties to continue with the same lifestyle as they had when all assets were pooled. In many cases, the position is severe, given the costs of housing now, so that just trying to deal with who lives where can be a nightmare.

With finances and divorce, the starting point is always, where there are young children, that the financial as well as emotional needs of the children come first, and on any analysis, moral as well as legal, this has to be the correct approach.

Other factors that the courts will look into are :-

1. the respective earning capacities of the parties, past and future

2. the length of the marriage

3. assets which are not yet available such as pensions of either party

4. non financial contributions such as one party bringing up children at home

5. options such as deferred sale orders for a property

6. the conduct of the parties but this is rarely that significant in a divorce system which is now based on a non fault basis

An unfortunate example of where, as happens with other types of disputes, one or both parties may seek to play games which can backfire spectacularly, is on the necessary disclosure of financial information. If there is an attempt to hide assets or to in some way dupe the court, this is only likely to have seriously adverse effects on that party, especially in that he or she may face a hefty costs order or perhaps more stringent consequences.

If you have a straightforward divorce where finances are not disputed, there are now some excellent options for dealing with divorce online. If you feel that you need legal advice, there are many solicitors who specialise in divorce who can help.