There is no hard and fast formula when it comes to financial settlements in a divorce. Instead, the law provides a wide discretion and guiding principles to help achieve a fair outcome. This applies whether you're negotiating, going through mediation or collaborative meetings or asking a judge or arbitrator to make the decision.
People have very different views about what “fair” means. However if you and your ex are trying to agree a financial arrangement (with or without the help of lawyers or mediators) you need to know what the law says so that you can:
- reach an agreement that reflects your legal rights and responsibilities
- turn your agreement into a legally binding court order (called a "consent order")
The court has a very wide discretion when deciding who gets what on a divorce. This flexibility allows the court to take into account a family's individual circumstances when splitting assets and considering maintenance and to come up with a tailor-made arrangement. However, this flexibility can make it difficult to predict with any certainty what decision a judge or arbitrator will arrive at.
The court will always:
- put the welfare of your children first
- take into account all of your family's circumstances including all your resources, your standard of living, your ages and the length of your marriage.
- ensure that your and your ex's needs are met, whether that's by putting in place short or long term spousal maintenance and/or through the division of property, investments, pensions or other assets.
- in every case the court has to consider if it's possible to leave you financially independent of each other either immediately or at some fixed point in the future (called a "clean break order")
It is essential, even in cases which appear to be straightforward, to take legal advice from experienced family lawyers. We have been involved in ground-breaking cases where established legal principles have been challenged. Our work with clients ranging from business owners, entrepreneurs and senior management, farming families and high profile individuals in the entertainment and sporting worlds means you can rely on our legal expertise and experience. Crucially, you can be completely confident that we will listen to what matters most to you and support you all the way through to the best outcome we can achieve together.