Bart-Williams & Co understand that a separation can have a devastating emotional impact on both parties. What should never be overlooked, no matter how easy the temptation, is to consider the financial needs of both spouses and the children. No two cases are ever the same. There is no set formula for division of income and assets. This is a complex area in which we can help you straight away.
A financial settlement on divorce will be focused on meeting the couple’s reasonable needs. A settlement is only very rarely affected by marital misconduct:- adultery is not a basis for increasing a financial settlement. All the income and assets of the parties must be quantified and decisions made on the future requirements of both spouses and their children.
Agreements can be reached about the division of all assets such as a home or homes, business interests, investments in companies, pensions, trusts, offshore assets, and both parties’ incomes including future earnings. Financial settlements should be flexible and fair to both sides. Payment of maintenance, lump sums, transfer of property, share transfers and pension sharing will follow an agreement or court order. Bart-Williams & Co review all of these areas.
Financial needs and divorce settlements negotiating a financial settlement in divorce is a skilled and complex task. The law is ever evolving in its interpretation and application but it will come down to two simple questions. What is a fair split for this particular couple and their children? How much do they both reasonably need for their immediate and future needs and how should the income and assets be fairly shared between them?
In most cases the assets are easily identified and valued, income disclosed, expenditure budgeted for and capital needs for both parties determined going forward. Ultimately, usually after negotiation, an agreement is reached. Difficulties can arise particularly in more complex cases; such as where the assets are located, what they are really worth if disputed, whether they are regarded in law as “matrimonial” or “ non matrimonial,” such as whether they have been earned prior to the marriage, after the separation, or come from family gifts or inheritances; to what extent all assets should be shared and in what proportions.
In all cases, the English court will require full and frank disclosure on the part of both parties, to each other and to the court as part of the initial process. All the income and assets of the parties will be taken into account.
It is imperative to assess not only the immediate short-term impact a split will have including if necessary payment of legal costs and maintenance but also as the case progresses to consider the longer term future needs of both spouses and children by reference to their standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If there are sufficient assets to sever all ties, a “clean break” solution may be the outcome. Even then there is no formula for a clean break. A 50/50 division may only be a starting point. If a clean break is not possible, continuing maintenance will be a possibility.