Divorce & Finances

The legal side of divorce is, in itself, usually, quite a straightforward procedure. However, there are pitfalls with serious consequences and we would always recommend you have legal advice to protect your position. When it comes to the financial side, things can become more complex. It is very important that everything is dealt with correctly by experts from the outset, so that a smooth path is laid for the future without any scope for acrimonious issues arising down the line.

At Pickering & Butters, our team of divorce solicitors have extensive expertise helping couples come to agreements on how to arrange and divide their finances after divorce. We place great emphasis on keeping stress and costs to a minimum by resolving financial matters in an amicable manner.

Wherever possible, we will attempt settlement through what is known as a negotiated Consent Order. This is an agreement that we put into a court on your behalf to ensure your spouse sticks to what has been negotiated. It is much preferable to contested court proceedings which tend to be lengthy, stressful and expensive.

If it does become necessary to go to court for a Financial Order, our specialist team have substantial expertise in the technicalities of financial divorce law so you can be confident in your representation as you go through the court process.

Get in touch with our Family Law Team by calling our Stafford office on 01785 603060, our Rugeley office on 01889 803080, emailing info@pb4law.com or by filling in our enquiry form to the right of the page.

How do the courts decide how finances will be divided on divorce?

At Pickering & Butters, we encourage clients to try and to come to a financial settlement out of court wherever possible. Notwithstanding this, it is important to understand how courts decide how to divide divorcing couples’ finances because it will help you and your former spouse reach an agreement which is fair in the eyes of the law.

When considering your finances, a court will look at the entirety of your circumstances including:

  • Any children – the welfare of your children is paramount in any decisions.
  • Your ages and the length of the marriage.
  • Your incomes, future earning capacities, and any other financial resources you have or may have in the future.
  • Your standard of living.
  • The contributions you made to the welfare of the family, including raising children or taking care of the home.
  • Any physical and mental disability.
  • Conduct during the marriage which is so unfair it cannot be disregarded.
  • Loss of benefits as a result of the divorce, such as pension entitlements.

As well as these factors, the court upholds two main principles:

  1. The sharing principle – marriage is a partnership and the finances and assets should be shared fairly. The starting point is a 50:50 split.
  2. The needs principle – Although 50:50 is the starting point, the court then considers each spouse’s needs to enable both to achieve independence after the divorce. Needs include where the parties will live and how much money they need to live on. If one spouse’s needs are greater than the other, the final split will not be 50:50.

There is also a third principle called the compensation principle which states where one spouse has made sacrifices during the marriage – such as giving up a promising career to raise children – may need to be compensated by the other spouse. However, this principle is rarely used in practice.

How our divorce solicitors in Staffordshire can help you resolve your finances after divorce

Our skilled divorce solicitors have decades of experience advising and guiding couples through the divorce process and helping them negotiate fair agreements regarding the division and arrangement of finances and property.

Wherever possible, we value non-combative methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as collaborative law, which promote cooperation and constructive discussion rather than confrontation.

Financial settlements

Financial settlement is the term used to describe the division and arrangement of a couple’s finances during a divorce, including how money, savings, property, debt, and pensions will be dealt with.

The financial settlement will set out details of all financial matters including:

  • The division of assets
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child maintenance
  • Pension arrangements

Division of assets

Assets that form part of the divorce settlement include:

  • The family home
  • Any other properties you own
  • Savings and investments
  • Pensions
  • Family businesses

Spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is regular payments one spouse agrees to pay the other upon divorce. It is often agreed to ensure a spouse with a lower income and future earning capacity can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce.

There are no set amounts for spousal maintenance, so this is one of the matters which needs to be discussed and agreed during financial settlement negotiations.

Child maintenance

Child maintenance is regular payments made by one spouse, usually to the spouse with whom the children live most of the time. Child maintenance is intended to cover the children’s livings costs, such as food and clothing.

Like spousal maintenance, child maintenance is one of the matters you and your former partner should negotiate during financial settlement discussions.

Pension arrangements

Your pension can form part of the financial settlement in several ways, including:

  • Pension sharing – A percentage of one spouse’s pension is transferred to the other
  • Pension offsetting – you retain the entirety of your pension, but the value is offset against other assets. For example, if you have a large pension but your spouse does not, they may keep the family home instead

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Most couples are able to arrange their divorce financial settlements without going to court, and the court’s only role is to formalise the agreement as a Consent Order.

We support Alternative Dispute Resolution – mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration. We have a very strong team of specialist fully qualified collaborative lawyers. Please get in touch for more information regarding this alternative method.

Mediation

Mediation is a common method of Alternative Dispute Resolution for family law matters. In many family law matters, couples are legally required to try mediation before a court will consider an application.

Mediation involves attending a meeting or series of meetings with your former partner and a trained mediator to discuss and try to agree your financial settlement. The mediator’s role is not to provide legal advice or judge your case, but to guide and facilitate your discussion, diffusing any conflict where possible.

Collaborative law

Like mediation, collaborative law allows couples to discuss their financial arrangements in a friendly, non-confrontational environment. You and your former partner each choose a collaborative lawyer to attend a series of meetings to provide advice and negotiate. 

Because the collaborative law method promotes discussion and cooperation, it increases the likelihood of you and your ex-partner coming to an amicable agreement which works for both of you and reduces the risk of the agreement breaking down in the future.

Our team of divorce solicitors includes a number of trained collaborative lawyers. For more information, please visit our collaborative law page.

Court proceedings

Courts can make a number of financial orders as part of the divorce proceedings including orders to pay lump sums, sell the family home, or compensation for loss of pension entitlements.

Wherever possible, our divorce solicitors will help you come to an agreement without resorting to court to save you time, money, and stress. However, if it becomes necessary to ask a court to make a decision on your finances, we will provide you with strong representation to give you the best possible chance of achieving positive outcome which guarantees you a safe and financially secure future.

Why choose Pickering & Butters to help you resolve your finances after divorce

At Pickering & Butters, we specialise in providing bespoke, high-quality legal services to the local communities across Stafford and Rugeley. We pride ourselves on our excellent ability to achieve positive outcomes for our clients; and in 2004, we were awarded the Lexcel accreditation by the Law Society which recognises our dedication to client care.

A number of our team are members of Resolution, a network for legal professionals devoted to resolving family law matters through non-combative methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Amy Bedford, Gill Patterson, are both trained as collaborative lawyers.

Contact our divorce solicitors in Staffordshire today

We offer all new clients a 30-minute consultation to discuss your family law matter and we run walk-in clinics at both of our Staffordshire branches.

If you would like further information, get in touch with our Family Law Team by calling our Stafford office on 01785 603060, our Rugeley office on 01889 803080, emailing info@pb4law.com or by filling in our enquiry form to the right of the page.