Finances on Divorce & Separation

Financial security is key We provide support, guidance and expert advice on financial settlements


In this section

Feeling secure about your financial future is one of the main concerns that arises during the breakdown of a relationship. Our specialist family lawyers have a wealth of experience in advising clients on what is fair, what is reasonable and what is realistic, whether they are involved in a negotiated settlement or whether a Judge is to make the final decision. Our involvement in many of the leading cases on financial matters means we are well placed to advise on the current law and how this impacts on each individual’s particular circumstances.

No matter how the outcome is achieved, our skilled family and divorce lawyers provide support and guidance throughout the process. We draw on our years of experience to advise and enable clients to make informed and well considered choices, both in terms of process and outcome, when reaching a financial settlement.

We are respected by our clients and peers for our sensible and pragmatic approach to handling cases and for our focus on the needs of each individual client.

What we do

We advise on the full spectrum of financial matters that may arise on relationship breakdown. Many of our cases have an international aspect and we have close relationships with family lawyers around the world when advice is required regarding the law of another jurisdiction. Many of our cases also involve complex financial structures which may include business assets, trusts and pensions. Where particular expertise is required, we have excellent relationships with advisers including accountants, tax advisers, IFAs, mortgage brokers and actuaries.

Our advice includes:

  • Financial arrangements on divorce and the division of assets

On divorce, there are a number of orders which a Judge can make and which therefore form the basis for an agreement between the parties. These include orders for maintenance (periodical payments), lump sum payments, transfer of assets (including the family home for example) and orders relating to pensions. Our team of family law specialists can advise you on the legal principles that govern the division of assets on divorce and help you to reach a fair settlement.

We are also able to offer advice on more discrete issues or complex matters which arise during the course of proceedings and negotiations such as:

  1. International aspects of the division of finances to include financial provision following an overseas divorce and dealing with offshore trusts, foreign pensions and other property held abroad.
  2. Emergency applications such as applications for a freezing injunction to prevent the disposal of assets by one party to the proceedings.
  3. Claims for financial provision against the estate of a deceased spouse or former spouse under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (an ‘Inheritance Act claim’).
  4. The effect of bankruptcy proceedings on the division of assets on divorce.  
  5. General enforcement of domestic financial orders in addition to the enforcement of foreign financial orders in this jurisdiction and the enforcement of an English court order abroad.

Rights between cohabiting couples are limited. This is because cohabiting couples are not afforded the same rights as married couples when the relationship breaks down. We have extensive experience in helping clients to navigate this often complex area of law to reach sensible agreements.

Ensuring that children are adequately provided for both emotionally and financially is, for most parents, their number one priority. We help clients to secure financial provision for their children, putting their mind at rest and allowing them to focus on the future. See also Child Support Payments.

Even though a financial settlement has been reached and a court order is in place, circumstances can change and it may become necessary to apply to the court to vary the amount payable under the order or extend the time for which payments are to be made. Whether you are the receiving party or the paying party, we are able to advise you on whether you are likely to be able to increase or decrease maintenance payments or indeed extend the period for payment depending on your particular financial situation. See also Varying Maintenance Payments.

Our indexation calculator is a useful tool for calculating any automatic inflationary uplifts in payments under an order.

  • Enforcement of an order

Where a party is in breach of an order, for example, where the paying party has ceased to make maintenance payments, it may be necessary to take enforcement action. This can be an anxious time for the receiving party who relies heavily on their maintenance as a significant source of income. We help clients to put pressure on the paying party to reinstate the terms of an order and will commence enforcement proceedings when all else has failed.

Planning for the future is as important as dealing with a situation when it happens. Having a pre or a post nuptial agreement in place can help to avoid unnecessary wrangling when a relationship breaks down and can help to create a level of certainty as well as managing expectations. A well-executed agreement is crucial, ticking all of the relevant ‘legal boxes’, and advice about a pre nuptial agreement should be sought in good time before the wedding.

How we do it

Reaching a financial settlement can be a testing time. Our goal is to minimise conflict and help our clients and their families to move on with their lives. We provide tailor made solutions which means finding the right process option for each individual client and then finding an outcome which works for the family as a whole.

In addition to solicitor-led negotiation, our lawyers specialise in:

Where you and your partner have separated amicably or where the relationship remains cordial, the parties may wish to consider mediation as a means to reach an agreement regarding the finances. Some clients prefer their solicitor to be by their side during the negotiation process in which case, collaborative law is an excellent option, enabling the client to be fully engaged in the settlement discussions. Alternatively, our solicitors will take instructions from you but instead take the lead on the negotiations with the other party or their solicitor through solicitor-led negotiation. Where the parties are unable to reach an agreement and consider that a more formal arena is required (without resorting to issuing financial proceedings at court) arbitration can provide them with the structure and formality that is required to achieve an outcome in a timely fashion.

Whilst going to court is often the last resort due to the emotional and financial costs involved, we litigate sensibly but forcefully. We recognise that sometimes, litigating a case is inevitable. One party may refuse to provide full financial disclosure of their assets or a party may be in the process of disposing of assets in an underhand manner, for example. Or the reality may be that the parties have simply reached an impasse and the structure and timetabling of a court process is required to bring about finality.

No matter which process is involved, our highly experienced team of specialist family lawyers is able to provide a common sense approach to resolving financial matters on relationship breakdown.

You may wish to read more about our clients’ experiences of process choices in our Divorce Diaries.

Family Support Services

Our family support services, such as counselling, are on hand to provide clients with additional non-legal support they may need during family breakdown.

You may also find the following resources useful:

Maintenance indexation calculator

Varying maintenance payments

Pre and post nuptial agreements

Take a look at our finance related blogs:

Dividing pre marriage assets on divorce – new case

Sharp v Sharp: short marriage with no children – division of finances

Pension inequality for same sex couples?

International pension issues on divorce

Charging orders: new rules for family practitioners

Financial relief after an overseas divorce

Child support: mind the gap

Will I get less on divorce if I have a new partner?

Will my new partner have to disclose his/her financial situation when I divorce?

Offshore funds: piercing the matrimonial veil

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