On divorce or separation, all of your assets (money, investments & property etc) and those of your spouse are regarded as matrimonial assets (belonging to you both), regardless of whose name they were purchased in. Similarly debts are treated as matrimonial liabilities, although if debts have been accumulated by one party purely for their own purposes e.g. a large gambling debt, then this may be regarded as a debt of that individual and not a matrimonial debt. These collective assets and liabilities will be considered together when looking at what is a reasonable financial settlement for both of you.
Amicable Agreements and Consent Orders
If the relationship between you and your spouse has remained amicable, then a settlement may be agreed without having to go to court. In this situation, you should consider the following points:
- The well-being of any children;
- Any outstanding debts or liabilities that you or your former spouse have;
- The value of any property owned, whether joint or individually;
- Assets held by either party;
- Financial obligations and responsibilities of each party;
- Pension arrangements;
- Comparative earnings and earning potential of the spouses;
- Physical or mental disabilities;
- Contributions made to the marriage by either party, financial or otherwise
If a settlement is agreed between you and your spouse, approval from the court is still required. In this situation, a Consent Order is drawn up by us which merely needs to be rubber-stamped by a judge. The court needs to be satisfied that the agreement is reasonable and that both parties understand what they have signed.
When you can’t agree
If you have tried but failed to reach a financial settlement with your spouse we may advise you that the matter should be referred to court and an application made. This can be made by either you or your spouse.
Types of Court Order
The court can make orders for:
- Maintenance for the husband or wife;
- Maintenance for children;
- A lump sum for the husband or wife;
- A ‘property adjustment’ or ‘transfer of property’ order;
- Sharing or claiming on the other’s pension fund.
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