How Can I Reach A Divorce Financial Settlement Quickly?
Applying To The Court, Drafting A Consent Order
You’re getting divorced and it’s time to divide up the assets. You can ask the court to make financial and property orders but it’s not a one-way street.
Remember – your ex has the same right. They can apply for similar orders against you…
And the court decides. It can order that one of you should:
- pay maintenance to the other
- pay a lump sum of money
- transfer a property to the other.
The court also has the power to transfer a share of a pension between you.
So be sensible and reach an agreement. It’s best for all concerned if you can spare each other (and the court) all the aggravation.
Negotiate a financial settlement yourselves. Draw the terms up into a Consent Order and send it to the court. We can help you to draft the order.
If a District Judge approves the Consent Order (without the need for a hearing), it will be made into a binding legal arrangement.
How Does The Court Decide What’s Fair?
There’s no standard formula. The court balances your needs and resources (and those of you ex) then divides up the assets in a fair and reasonable way.
The court must take into account all your circumstances – along with these factors set out in law:
- the needs of your children
- your (and your ex’s) income, earning capacity and other finances
- your (and your ex’s) financial needs and responsibilities
- your family’s standard of living before the marriage broke down
- your age (and your ex’s age) and how long you were married
- any disabilities you or your ex may have
- what contributions you and your ex have made (or are likely to make)
- how well you and your ex have behaved in the marriage if (in the court’s opinion) it would be unfair to ignore it
- the value of any benefit you or your ex will lose in the divorce.
Courts have said in recent years that equality should be the starting point in many cases – especially in longer marriages.
What If You Or Your Ex Try To Hide Assets?
Under the law you and your ex must disclose all your assets and liabilities to the court so it can reach a fair decision.
If you fail to do so – and the truth is discovered – the court can reopen your case.
Negotiating a Financial Settlement
You may negotiate settlement terms after you’ve disclosed your finances. If you prefer, our family divorce lawyers can deal with the disclosure and negotiation stages on your behalf.
Or you may choose to continue with family mediation. This will involve several meetings. The mediator will guide you both through the disclosure process and help negotiate a settlement.
If negotiations break down, either party can apply to the court (using Form A) for a Financial Remedies Order so a judge can decide on fair terms after a contested hearing.
But before you apply to court, both parties must have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a qualified Mediator.
What If My Case Goes To A Final Hearing?
Most cases never go to a Final Hearing. The aim is to reach an agreement before then but this isn’t always possible.
Having to go to a Final Hearing can make the process much longer.
It can take six to eight months to get a Final Hearing after you have filled in Form A – maybe even longer. Cases have to wait their turn to get into the court lists.
So it’s far better to reach an agreement through mediation. Much quicker, much cheaper, less stressful.
Get More Information
Find out more by contacting Coles Miller Senior Family Lawyer Lindsey Arnold, 01202 355695.