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Read more articles in: Elaine Collins, News

Three key financial considerations when applying for a divorce

Going through a divorce is an incredibly difficult experience for couples. Not only does it mean the end of a relationship, but it also means that you need to thoroughly assess and prepare for the changes that will occur in your financial life.

For example, couples getting divorced will need to consider how they manage their finances, pensions, and family home.

Here, Mander Hadley’s Senior Associate and Family law specialist, Elaine Collins, outlines three areas that couples need to consider when applying for a divorce:

Homes

When it comes to the division of assets between couples during divorce proceedings, there are many things to consider.

Contrary to the belief that there should be a presumption of a 50/50 split, things are often more challenging when attempting to come to a final settlement.

While legal ownership of the home and contributions from both parties are taken into account when deciding how to split things up, every marriage or civil partnership has unique circumstances that require an individualised approach.

The only way for you and your spouse to get clarity on this matter is by assessing the specifics of your case to ensure each party gets their fair share under the law.

Working together is a preferable route; with options such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative law available to help you decide how assets should be divided.

Should an agreement not prove possible though, the court remains an outlet for both parties seeking a resolution.

What should be remembered though is that couples that have bought their home together in the UK are legally and equally entitled to remain living there until an agreement is reached.

So neither party is disadvantaged where the other party remains in the home, financial agreements reached during divorce or dissolution proceedings will typically determine who should buy out any shares.

This will have to take into account whether it’s best for your house to be sold off or if primary care of children must stay until they leave home – either way, all parties still retain their right as legal occupants of the residence until a settlement is reached.

Finances

When couples get divorced, they must reassess their finances and determine how they’ll manage them moving forward. This includes deciding whether either party will receive support payments.

Debts, regardless of whose name they are in, should be factored into your considerations.

Similarly, savings will usually be considered a joint asset within a wider financial settlement.

It can be useful, even at an early stage, for each party to create a budget and evidence what kind of financial situation they’ll be in after the divorce is finalised.

This might prove useful whether you take the final settlement to court or come to an agreement via mediation or arbitration.

Pensions

Divorced couples also need to consider how their pensions may be affected by a split.

Depending on the type of pension plan involved, the other party may have rights to a portion of your pension upon divorce.

Each settlement is different and, in some cases, where you and your ex-partner both have your own pensions they might be ignored altogether.

For divorces after December 2000, pensions can be taken into account in one of three ways – offsetting, attachment orders and pension sharing,

If you can’t reach an agreement then a judge has the power to make couples share out pension savings with each other, called a pension sharing order.

It’s always wise, therefore, for divorcing couples with pensions to consult with their solicitor before signing any agreements or taking matters to court so that each party understands exactly what their rights are regarding their pension plans in future.

Divorce is never easy but taking these steps can help you make sure that you have a clearer financial future, which takes into account your needs and those of your family. Please get in touch to find out how we can help you with divorce proceedings.

Elaine Collins

Senior Associate

I have spent several years specialising in complex private children matters including situations where one parent lives outside of the UK’s jurisdiction, requiring urgent applications to safeguard children and change of residence.