May 30, 2023

How can I achieve a fair financial settlement in my divorce?

Jones Myers Family Law explains how a starting point in securing a fair financial settlement in divorce is for both of you to undergo a ‘full and frank disclosure’ of each other’s financial situations relating to assets, income and pensions

By Neil Dring, Jones Myers Senior Solicitor and Consultant 

The impact of divorce can be devastating – which is why our focus at Jones Myers is on helping our clients to reach a fair financial settlement without going to Court.

Emotions understandably run high for those undergoing divorce, and we need to do all we can to control those emotions because relationship breakdown involves families, often with children, who will continue to be families long after they have separated.

When it comes to finances, the matrimonial pot, in principle, is shared equally when you divorce. Exceptions include cases where couples have previously tied the knot and owned properties, shares, and investments in their former marriages. Also, in situations where meeting the financial needs of one of the parties, and in particular the housing needs of the children, means that an unequal division might be needed.

A starting point in securing a fair financial settlement that meets the needs of everyone is for both of you to undergo a ‘full and frank disclosure’ of each other’s financial situations in these three areas:   

  1. Assets – your house and other properties, savings, investments, shares, and businesses 
  2. Income – whether you are employed or self-employed, along with dividends and interest payments
  3. Pensions – the type of scheme and value

You and your spouse are expected to provide information  detailing all your finances including bank account details and one year’s worth of statements for each account. Pay slips and other documents are also needed.  

Doing this produces a detailed picture of the financial requirements you both need now – and going forwards – to protect you both.   

The repercussions of failing to disclose all your financial assets during the disclosure process include loss of trust with your spouse – which can also make agreeing a settlement out of Court more difficult.

If your divorce goes to Court and a Judge discovers you have not divulged key financial information, you could lose credibility with the Judge and face ‘ligation misconduct’ which can include being ordered to pay your spouse’s Court costs.

If, having agreed a Consent Order – a legal document approved by the Court verifying how you will divide your assets, income, and pension – it later comes to light that you have withheld financial information, your spouse might be able to make future additional claims.  

In the worst-case scenario, deliberately withholding financial information in breach of a court order can amount to a contempt of court for which a range of penalties (including ultimately imprisonment) could be imposed.            

While the prospect of planning your future finances may seem daunting at such a period in your life,  reaching a financial settlement that is mutually satisfactory, and will stand up to legal scrutiny, is vital.  

Providing clarity and certainty to you and your spouse, it enables you both to look to the future with security, optimism, and peace of mind.

For queries on financial remedies or any aspect of family law, call us on 0113 246 0055 (Leeds), 01423 276104 (Harrogate), or 01904 202550 (York). Visit jm2023.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

Jones Myers blog is ranked 8th in the UK’s Best 25 family law blogs and websites to follow in 2023.

About Neil Dring

Senior family law specialist, Neil Dring, has almost four decades of expertise in divorce and financial settlements arising from relationship breakdowns.

Neil’s strong track record in divorce and separation includes dealing with complex high net worth financial disputes and advocacy. He is also highly experienced in advising on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

A champion of seeking to help clients resolve their relationship break up through alternative and less confrontational routes than going to court, Neil’s clients commend him for his clarity and common-sense approach to settlement along with his empathy, sensitivity and understanding.