We understand that negotiating a financial settlement can be one of the most challenging aspects of the breakdown of a relationship. With over 30 years’ experience, our expert family lawyers can help you. We can lead you through your financial settlement and assist you to protect your wealth and reach a fair settlement that is right for your family. We will help to consider any pre/post nuptial agreement, pension provisions, financial investments/business interests and the tax implications.
A financial settlement is created to divide matrimonial assets so that each person can move on independently. It is important to consider each party’s age, income, housing needs, earning capacity, lifestyle, contributions towards the family and those of the children. The Court will consider the needs and what would be ‘fair’ taking into account the particular circumstances of the couple.
Unlike couples that are married or in a civil partnership, cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights. It is important that you seek legal advice about your rights about any property that you own together, your possessions and pension provisions.
For example: if you own the property as ‘joint tenants’ then it is assumed under law that you intended to own the property in equal shares. If the property is owned as ‘tenants in common’ the share of what each person should own is usually drawn up into a document (declaration of trust). In circumstances where one person owns the property in their sole name, it can be difficult for the other person to establish an interest in the property.
A separation agreement is available for married and unmarried couples. A legal document (Deed of Separation) can be drawn up if you do not meet the criteria to start the divorce process, you are not ready to start the divorce process, or you are unmarried and separating. The document will record the financial responsibilities of each person and any arrangements relating to the children. The document will require both parties to offer full and frank financial disclosure so discussions can take place about each person’s responsibilities. The document is not legally binding but will be taken into account by the Court about each parties’ intention when entering into the Separation Agreement.
A parent can make a claim against the other parent on behalf of the children (maintenance, lump sum or property rights) under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.