Experts in Family Law and Mediation
Financial Settlement Solicitors
Our family law team have a strong reputation for providing expert legal advice and representation when it comes to obtaining fair financial settlements for our clients. Although we are dedicated to helping couples resolve divorce disputes outside of court wherever possible, if a court order is required, we can provide strong, persuasive representation. We understand how emotionally charged money issues can be during a divorce, especially if there are substantial assets at stake. Therefore, we provide sensitive, empathetic service, putting your interests and the needs of any children at the forefront of what we do.
To contact our financial settlement solicitors, please call our office on 020 3824 8080 to make an appointment at our central London or Hounslow office.
We have years of experience dealing with all types of family law matters, including high-net-worth and contentious divorce. All your dealings with us will be in complete confidence. If you need advice from accountants, wealth managers, real estate agents, valuers, and/or counsellors, we can recommend highly-experienced professionals to you, so you can access the support needed to move forward following your divorce.
What am I entitled to in a divorce settlement?
The court’s starting position is a 50/50 split when working out how much of the marital assets each spouse is entitled to upon divorce. However, the court will consider factors set out in a checklist under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 when deciding on a fair financial settlement. These include:
- the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources that each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including future earning capacity
- the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities each spouse has now and in the foreseeable future
- the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the relationship broke down
- the age of each party to the marriage and how long the marriage lasted
- any physical or mental disability of either spouse
- the contributions that each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family
- the conduct of each of the parties, but only if the conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the court, be inequitable to disregard it
- the value of any benefit one or both spouses would lose due to the divorce (i.e. the increase in the value of a private or company pension)
Can I stop my spouse from hiding assets?
Spouses are required to provide full and frank disclosure regarding their assets and liabilities during a divorce. If you believe your spouse may have hidden assets, our family law solicitors will work with forensic accountants and tracing agents to uncover them.
If there is a real risk your partner may dispose of assets to avoid them becoming part of the financial settlement, our solicitors can apply for a freezing order (formerly known as a Mareva injunction).
Freezing orders are known as the ‘nuclear weapon’ of divorce law, and for good reason. They restrict a person’s ability to deal with or dispose of certain assets or monies and are often used in high-net-worth divorce cases where wealth is dispersed among a series of corporate entities and trusts. Property, stocks and shares, art, cars, even bank accounts can be made subject to a freezing order.
The courts are extremely strict on the procedural requirements for obtaining a freezing order, especially if they are being applied for ex parte (without the other party’s knowledge). Our family law team has years of experience in dealing with high-net-worth divorce and can quickly apply for a freezing order if required. We know the procedural requirements which need to be adhered to and consequently have a strong track record of successfully having freezing orders granted to our clients.
What is spousal maintenance?
One of the hardest concepts many couples divorcing fail to grasp is that a ‘clean break’ may not be possible. Although it may seem extraordinary that one party may need to keep paying for the other’s living expenses long after the Decree Absolute has been issued, spousal maintenance is often required to ensure the financial settlement is equitable.
Spousal maintenance is a complex area of family law, but the reality is marriage can change the course of a person’s life. If a husband or wife has chosen to step back from their career to raise children and support their spouse, it is possible the court will order the financially stronger party to make ‘top up’ payments in the form of spousal maintenance for a period of time.
At MPR Solicitors, we can advise you on spousal maintenance and work to ensure the payments are fair and reasonable.
Do you have to go to court to agree a financial settlement?
You do not have to go to court to agree the details of your financial settlement, in fact a majority of couples work out between themselves how to divide their finances. Our family law solicitors will convert what you and your spouse have agreed into a format that is recognised and enforceable by the court. We will also advise you on the long-term implications of the agreement, allowing you to make informed decisions that will benefit your interests, now and in the future.
The agreement will be presented to the court for approval. This is known as an order by consent. The court will approve the agreement made between you and your spouse at some point after the granting of Decree Nisi.
It is not compulsory to obtain an order by consent from the court, but failing to do so means that what you and your spouse have agreed will not be legally binding. Although your divorce may be amicable in the beginning, things can change, especially if one of you meets a new partner. By instructing us to draw up a legally binding financial order, you can feel confident that what has been agreed will be adhered to.
To find out more about financial settlements, please call us on 020 3824 8080 or fill in our contact form to get in touch.