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Financial Aspects of Divorce
and Separation

 

I spend most of my working day helping people to reach financial agreements:  be it temporary arrangements following separation, arrangements for children or final and binding overall financial agreements.

There are no set formulas to apply when deciding about the payment of maintenance and division of assets – although experience and case law can give clear guidance on likely outcomes.

The CSA (now the CMS) has been given the legal remit by Parliament to determine questions of child maintenance for most families (although parents are encouraged first to reach their own agreements without recourse to the CMS).  The CMS does not provide for the payment of school fees or university costs, or the aditional costs of looking after a child with disabilities, these issues remain in the remit of the family court (where not agreed by the parents), as would the payment of higher child maintenance in wealthier families.  

Spousal maintenance is essentially a balance between an individual's need for support and their spouses ability to pay.  Need in these circumstances is relative: diferent families are and will be assessed differently.  As in all areas of family law, one size does not fit all.  

Increasingly courts are looking to consider spousal maintenance payments for a defined period of time rather than for life (as had previously been the norm in England and Wales).  Consideration of an individuals ability to earn income in the future is an important consideration.   

When it comes to capital, the law does not say that a 50/50 split of capital assets should be achieved.  In fact, that is a comparatively rare outcome.  The resources available to the parties (include their ability to generate income) and each parties needs going forward (particularly the needs of their children), is what will determine the outcome in any given case.  

Uneven contributions by one party to a marriage - through pre-owned assets or inheritance (and in very rare cases exceptional contribution) - may influence an outcome if there is more money available than is necessary to meet the basic needs of each party.  

The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage will also be considered but individulas may have to accept that it is not possible to replicate that same stabndard when two households now need to be provided and supported. 

No two families are the same and what happened to your friends or work colleagues may be very different from the likely outcome for you.

If you need guidance as to the likely shape of an overall settlement, help with aspects of a negotiation or the gathering together of the information needed to make decisons, support in the early stages of a separation, advice as to arrangements that you have put in place or have agreed or you are facing legal proceedings issued by your spouse, please speak to me.

We can discuss what you can do, what I can do to assist you and make a plan from there.

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