In general, courts will not become involved in financial matters unless one of the parties to the divorce files an application for financial assistance.
Invariably, most couples who are getting divorced will own property acquired before and/or during the marriage. It is possible that each party may also earn a salary or have other independent financial arrangements.
Where parties can mutually agree, it is a good idea to record any agreements regarding property and financial arrangements within a Consent Order which will become binding on the Decree Absolute being granted.
Such orders provide clarity and certainty for each party and ensure that all arrangements are complete prior to the marriage being dissolved. They also ensure that claims cannot be made by one party against the other at a later date, for example if one party were to inherit money or die.
Many financial issues can be included in a financial consent order including personal possessions, property, maintenance arrangements, life assurance policies or pensions and savings.
To begin the process, one of the parties has to initiate a separate case known as an Application for Financial Remedy case by filing further documentation and paying additional court fees.
Such cases are usually slow in coming to court and often require multiple court hearings. They are generally complicated and require a significant amount of legal input from outside parties such as Counsel and other specialist parties or experts. Costs can often run into many thousands of pounds.
You are strongly advised to seek a mutual agreement with your spouse regarding matters of property and finance if at all possible. You can then formalise any agreement by entering into an agreed Consent Order, which can be approved by the court. These orders can be filed prior to an application for Decree Absolute being made.
As specialists in Collaborative Law, March Solicitors can help couples avoid the costs and complications of going to court to resolve issues. By sitting both parties down in the company of their solicitors, we can ensure that best solutions are found through dignified discussion. At March Solicitors, it’s about the parties attacking the problem – not each other!