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Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce Settlements

Splitting finances in a divorce is often a priority for many people and there can be a number of questions about the financial settlement. We have listed below some of the frequently asked questions. Click on a link to see the answer or contact us for more information.

What happens to the family home in a divorce?

The family home will be treated as an asset of the marriage and will consequently be included in the financial negotiations.

Divorce settlement negotiations start from the point of an equal division of any assets. If one partner wants to remain in the family home they will need to have enough financial resources to be able to offset the value of their spouse’s share of the home and then transfer assets of that value to their ex-spouse.

If not enough financial resources are available to achieve this then the family home may have to be sold so that the equity contained in it can be divided between the parties.

When children are involved, it can sometimes mean that one party can stay in the family home with the children. The courts always place the highest level of importance on the needs of any children involved. However, the courts will not allow an unfair settlement to either party, so this type of arrangement will depend on each party’s financial situation. If the needs of the children mean one party must stay in the family home, then the parent who leaves is likely to retain a financial share of the home. This share will then be realised at an agreed future date and on the eventual sale of the property.

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Who pays the legal costs in a divorce settlement?

Both parties will have their own solicitor and will be responsible for their own legal costs. In some circumstances it may be possible to include the payment of legal costs as part of the financial settlement if this is included in the initial negotiations.

If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.

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What is a clean break divorce settlement?

If no financial commitments between the parties remain in place after a divorce, e.g. ongoing spousal maintenance, this is known as a clean break.

In cases where ongoing spousal maintenance would normally be paid a clean break can still be achieved. This can happen if enough financial assets exist to enable the liable party to transfer a suitable amount that covers the value of any future maintenance.

It is not possible to achieve a clean break in terms of financial responsibility for children. As a clean break is only possible in relation to your spouse and not your children.

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It is necessary to go to court to reach a financial settlement?

No, it is possible for a financial settlement to be negotiated without going to court. This can be done between the parties and their solicitors. It will help reduce the legal fees and court fees incurred by both sides.

When an agreement is reached negotiations outside of the court, it will be sent to the court in order for it to be checked to ensure that it is reasonable. The agreement is then approved by them court to make it a legally binding order.

While the majority of divorce cases can be agreed this way, if an agreement cannot be reached then it will still be necessary to go to court to achieve a financial settlement. The disadvantage of the court ruling on a settlement is that an element of control is lost by both parties with regards to the final terms of the settlement.

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What elements are looked at to determine a divorce settlement?

An agreement can be reached either by negotiation between the parties and their solicitors, or through the court process if necessary. The courts will assess how any capital should be divided as well as whether or not ongoing income should be shared.

The following factors will be taken into account:

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