Financial Settlement In A Divorce
Agreeing a Divorce Financial Settlement
A financial settlement in the context of a divorce sets out how assets including money, property and possessions are shared at the end of a marriage or civil partnership
Mark Freedman Partner
“Osbornes Law have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level. They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board.”
“A family team that is able to offer the highest level of expertise across the family law spectrum from high-net-worth finances through to care proceedings and children matters.”
What is a financial settlement in divorce?
A financial settlement, officially known as a financial settlement agreement, is an arrangement between two adults who have agreed to legally separate. It is required when divorcing couples have a number of joint financial assets. The divorce settlement is a fair and equal agreement on splitting the assets. The following assets are included when calculating the financial settlement:
- the family home and any other property
- savings, investments and trusts
- joint bank accounts
- jointly owned business assets
It also covers how you’ll repay any debts and organise any child maintenance or spousal maintenance payments.
How is a financial settlement calculated?
Guidelines for calculating divorce settlements are set out in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In order to reach a fair settlement both you and your spouse will need to provide details of all your assets. This must be ‘full and frank’ and include all assets held in your sole name as well as jointly together or with any third party. Attempting to hide or conceal assets is not recommended.
Once this information has been exchanged, our lawyers will advise you on your entitlements, and you can evaluate your options. These include:
- Agreeing to a split directly with your former spouse;
- Attending mediation to reach an agreement;
- Partaking in arbitration; or
- Allowing one of our expert lawyers to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
If a settlement cannot be achieved in one of these ways, then we will discuss your court options.
What is a typical divorce settlement?
No two divorces or divorce finances are the same, however, there are common aspects that need to be addressed in a typical divorce settlement in order to determine how your assets will be split. These include both couples’:
- Income and future earning capacity
- Their financial needs
- Standards of living and expenses
- Their age
- Physical or mental disabilities
- Significant contributions towards assets
- The conduct of each party during the divorce process
Whatever the extent of your wealth, you will need an expert divorce lawyer with the appropriate financial acumen to protect your interests.
How is property divided following divorce?
The division of a marital home in a divorce can be a complex issue. In England and Wales, the starting point for the division of assets is equality, but this may be subject to certain exceptions. The court will consider a variety of factors, such as the financial needs and contributions of each spouse, the welfare of any children, and any other relevant circumstances. Find out more.
How are pensions split in a divorce?
There are three ways in which pensions can be divided upon divorce: pension sharing, offsetting and pension attachment/earmarking. A good starting point for clients who have initiated divorce proceedings or are planning to is to gather full and up-to-date valuations of all the pensions they and their partner have. Find out more.
Do I need a financial settlement agreement?
Even if you have reached a verbal agreement with your spouse, we strongly recommend that you obtain a financial settlement agreement to protect you and your family in the long term and to ensure the fair division of all assets. This is called a Financial Remedy Order. It is a legally binding ‘watertight’ financial settlement – agreed consensually and put before the Court for approval. If the case is contested the Court can impose the order.
There have been many cases where, years after they have divorced, applicants have been successful in making a financial claim against their former spouse. A settlement agreement will protect your interests now and will protect you from your spouse making a claim over any future inheritance, assets or windfall.
How long does a divorce financial settlement take?
A financial settlement on divorce usually takes between 9–12 months.
How we can help with your divorce financial settlement?
Each family is unique and at your initial consultation, we will discuss your circumstances, and identify what is most important to you and your desired outcome.
We will advise you on the law and how best to achieve the outcomes you seek. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, we will need to review this.
The breadth of experience in our team means that we offer the full range of options to obtain your divorce settlement, including:
- Collaborative law
- Central Family Court, High Court, County Court, Supreme Court
- Private FDRs
- Lawyer led negotiations
Whatever forum you choose, you can rest assured that we will negotiate vigorously on your behalf. If the divorce does proceed to court, our highly skilled advocates will represent you robustly and we have a track record of excellent results for our clients.
What is a consent order?
A consent order is the financial remedy order and is a legally binding document reflecting what you and your former spouse have agreed in terms of the financial settlement of the matrimonial assets. The order is made by the court and will permanently sever financial ties between spouses, save for any ongoing obligation as stipulated in the consent order such as maintenance.
Consent orders provide spouses with clarity and certainty in relation to the division of assets. They also remove any future risk of your former spouse making an application to court seeking more of your assets.
Where finances are contested by parties the Court will impose a financial remedy order.
What comes first divorce or financial settlement?
The financial settlement can be agreed upon before or after your divorce has been finalised. In the UK, it is common for the financial settlement to be negotiated and agreed upon before the divorce is finalised. This is because the financial settlement is an important aspect of the divorce process, and it is usually in the best interest of both parties to reach an agreement on financial matters before the divorce is finalised.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they may seek the assistance of a mediator or divorce solicitor. In some cases, the court may need to make a decision on the financial settlement, but this is usually a last resort and is only necessary if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own or with the assistance of a mediator.
Lisa Pepper is particularly recognised for her role as a mediator in complex cross-border disputes. Her practice also includes handling prenuptial agreements and issues arising from divorces. She is additionally skilled in Schedule 1 and other child arrangement matters.
Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues.
"Andrew Watson is respected and tenacious in matrimonial finance. You would want him on your team."
"David Leadercrammer is such an experienced wonderful lawyer who you would want on the other side of your case. He’s sensible, pragmatic and hugely experienced in money and children cases."
“Mark Freedman represents high net worth clients in complex financial disputes. Sources say that “he’s a determined negotiator who’ll always do the very best for his clients.”
“Mark Freedman is considered a ‘brilliant lawyer’ and a ‘great tactician’ who ‘will absolutely fight tooth and nail for his clients’. He is noted for his expertise in private children work and high-value divorces.”
"Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. One of the best in the field."
"Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases".
Andrew secured me the best financial settlement for my claim. He is a credit to Osbornes Solicitors.
"Lisa Pepper was recommended to me as non-nonsense and able to help me with a difficult and confrontational divorce. She more than lived up to that – she was practical, collected and always available with a clear opinion and suggestions of how to move forwards. She also was open and helpful about costs and how to mitigate them"
"Mark Freedman is a very capable lawyer, renowned for not being a pushover and pushing his clients’ cases as much as he can, but will always talk sensibly about settlement. He is among the best – tenacious, good judgment and tactically aware."
"Mark Freedman is a dynamic and highly experienced family lawyer who fights extremely hard for his clients and is always in their corner, thus ensuring their loyalty and confidence. In a trial you would always want him on your side."
"She has impressed me as someone who fights my corner but also understands the importance of resolving issues without unnecessary escalation. She is calm and reassuring."
"Her mediation practice is exceptional; she is also a great solicitor and has a breadth of skill which is really useful."
"He is really experienced and wise. He has a lovely manner about him and clients feel safe with him."
"Jo Wescott is top notch and widely recognised as a rising star throughout the profession. She brings a winning combination of great judgement, an immense work ethic, and a relaxed and charming way with opponents and clients alike. Someone you want on your side”
"Osbornes is pre-eminent for family law in North London. Mark Freedman is a real rainmaker. He is an excellent lawyer and has a top-notch practice"
Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.
"Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. Mark Freedman: one of the best in the field."
"Client-focused. Ready to fight the clients’ corner, but also ready where possible to steer client from unnecessary dispute. Mark Freedman – very experienced, with good instinct for the eventual result. Clients love him and he thinks ahead and directs the client to the best result for the client."
Mark Freedman is a serious player. A fearless family law litigator, who protects his clients’ interests passionately.
Breadth of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile is what makes it stand out. Mark Freedman – devoted to his clients
Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues. Sources praise the "tenacity and common sense" he brings to challenging disputes.
"Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."
Lisa Pepper is particularly recognised for her role as a mediator in complex cross-border disputes. Her practice also includes handling prenuptial agreements and issues arising from the dissolution of civil partnerships.
"An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."
"The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."
"Mark Freedman is a real heavyweight litigator who has dealt with some very significant cases."
"Mark Freedman boxes clever, keeps his powder dry and when it comes to the end game he negotiates a really good deal."
"Mark Freedman has a specific focus on high-net-worth divorces and finance cases where there are overseas assets and trusts."
"Lisa Pepper somehow manages to get parties to settle on matters where there isn’t much hope to start out with."
"Joanne Wescott is a very approachable and sensible opponent."
"The very personable and client-focused Lisa Pepper."
"Lisa can handle the large and complicated cases but takes equal care with the smaller cases. She is a highly skilled mediator who is a consummate professional."
"Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."
"Mark Freedman draws acclaim for his work in high net worth divorce cases, including those involving company structures, family trusts and overseas assets."
"He never gives up. He fights for you to the end and has boundless energy."
Mark Freedman advises high-net-worth clients and knows his stuff.
Highly regarded for his experience as a litigation and mediation expertise, Mark Freedman is tenacious and determined. Clients really feel that he is fighting their corner.
Andrew handled a very complex, 3 year legal battle for me, with a tremendous amount of patience and professionalism. He is very approachable, always kept me up to date, by phone and e-mail, and responded very quickly to my queries with excellent advice, sound strategic thinking and strong letters to put the other side under pressure. With top contacts for barristers, joint experts and mediation.
[The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.
Mark Freedman represents high net worth clients in complex financial disputes. Sources say that "he's a determined negotiator who'll always do the very best for his clients.
"Mark Freedman receives a lot of instructions from clients based abroad, often relating to complex divorce proceedings. Sources say: “His main strengths are his enthusiastic passion for the job in hand and his total dedication to his clients.”
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