Finance

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Finance

Resolving matrimonial finances within a separation or divorce can often be far more complex than the separation or divorce itself. For this reason financial matters are always dealt with separately from issues relating to children to help avoid any disagreements over finances spilling over and affecting arrangements for the children. Dealing with matrimonial finances is known as Ancillary Relief.

There are three ways of resolving the issue of matrimonial finances.

Firstly, the parties can agree how they are to be divided. This is of course the best way of resolving matters as it avoids confrontation and the uncertainty, cost and worry of Court hearings. Secondly, mediation can be an extremely productive way of resolving financial disputes.

The third and final way of resolving financial matters is by way of Court Proceedings. This course should only be taken when all other efforts to resolve matters have been exhausted. Court proceedings can be lengthy, time consuming, expensive and often highly emotional. In some cases however this is the only option available if a resolution is to be reached.

Whether financial matters are resolved by agreement, with the assistance of mediation, or ultimately by Court Order, the starting point should always be a full and honest disclosure of each party's financial means. This ensures that everyone is aware of what exactly is in the pot from the outset.

As every case is different, the law in this area is extremely flexible. The Court's aim is to achieve fairness based on the circumstances of each individual case.

In some cases it may be appropriate to make a clean break order which will end any financial obligation either party may have to the other. This is often the case where parties are young and have a good chance of making a new life.

In other cases, some form of maintenance, excluding maintenance for children, may be suitable, which will give an ongoing obligation and therefore a clean break may not be possible.

Even if a clean break order is achieved, maintenance will still be payable for any dependent children.

In most cases the largest asset of the marriage is the home. In some cases the family home can be sold and the proceeds divided between the parties. In other cases one party may be able to buy out the other, or may be transferred to one spouse with the other receiving a larger portion of other assets.

Wherever there are children, the Court's priority will be to provide them with a suitable home, but this does not automatically mean they will stay in the family home. In some cases, one person could stay in the family home with the other keeping an interest in that property until it is sold, perhaps when the youngest child reaches 18. It is important to note however that this does not happen very often.

The law also now provides for pension funds and inheritance to be shared on divorce, but this may not be appropriate in all cases. It is important to note that a divorce can be concluded even if financial issues remain unresolved.

The law and implications surrounding finance are complex. We strongly recommend that you seek legal and financial advice before agreeing to anything or making any decisions. Remember, there may be implications that you had not thought of. Contact us for further advice.

Separation & Divorce

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Finance

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The Law

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