Financial Settlements

Expert Financial Settlement Solicitors

Our financial settlement solicitors will advise you on how your assets including money, property and possessions are shared at the end of a marriage or civil partnership

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  • “Osbornes Law offers affluent clients representation in high-value, complex family matters.”

  • “Osbornes has incredible strength in depth across every area of family law. Areas of expertise include unravelling complicated trusts and handling pre-acquired wealth, to Children Act proceedings and advising on the financial provision for children.”

Table of Contents

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 separate legally. 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
  • vehicles
  • jointly owned business assets
  • pensions

It also covers how you’ll repay debts and organise 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. To reach a fair settlement, you and your spouse must provide details of all your assets. This must be ‘full and frank’ and include all assets held in your sole name and jointly 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, common aspects need to be addressed in a typical divorce settlement to determine how your assets will be split. These include both couples’:

  • Assets
  • 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
  • Children

Whatever the extent of your wealth, you will need an expert divorce lawyer with the appropriate financial acumen to protect your interests.

Is a financial settlement agreement legally binding?

In order for the agreement to be legally binding, you need to apply for a Consent Order from the Court. A Consent Order is a legally binding document reflecting what you and your former spouse have agreed.  The order permanently severs financial ties between spouses, save for any ongoing obligation as stipulated in the consent order, such as spousal maintenance. They also remove any future risk of your former spouse making an application to the court seeking more of your assets. Where parties contest finances, the Court will impose a financial remedy order

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 various factors, such as each spouse’s financial needs and contributions, the welfare of any children, and any other relevant circumstances. Find out more.

How are pensions split in a divorce?

There are three ways 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.

How are business assets treated with regards to the settlement?

A business is considered to be an asset. If you have an interest in a business, then it must be disclosed during the divorce process in the same way as any of your other assets. Find out more.

How are trusts treated?

trust is a separate legal entity. Neither spouse owns its assets. However, trusts are not ring-fenced from being included in the matrimonial assets considered for division. Find out more.

How are inherited assets are dealt with?

Various factors are taken into account when deciding how inherited assets are treated, including the value of the inheritance, when it was received, how long the couple have been married, and the financial needs of both parties. Find out more.

Does my role within the family matter?

English courts do not discriminate based on your role within the family. In cases where one partner was the main earner and the other stayed at home to look after children and the family home, these non-financial contributions are taken into account. See this article on housewife divorce rights.

Do I need a financial settlement agreement?

Even if you have reached a verbal agreement with your spouse, we strongly recommend obtaining legal advice regarding a financial settlement agreement to protect you and your family in the long term and 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 claiming any future inheritance, assets or windfall.

How long does a divorce financial settlement take?

A financial divorce settlement usually takes between 9–12 months.

Can a financial settlement be modified once it has been agreed?

It is very rare for a settlement to be changed once it has been agreed. However, the case of Barder vs Barder (1987) set a precedent which means that the Court can allow a financial settlement to be reopened if something later happens that alters the principle on which the original consent order was made. Strict guidelines must be met in order for this to happen.

Do I need a solicitor to agree a financial settlement?

While it’s not mandatory, it’s recommended to speak to a family lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and the agreement is fair and legally binding.

How Our Financial Settlement Solicitors Can Help.

Choosing the right solicitor for your divorce financial settlement is important. 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 your desired outcomes. We must review this if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The breadth of experience of our financial settlement solicitors means that we offer the full range of options to obtain your divorce settlement, including:

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. Call 020 7485 8811 or fill in the contact form below.


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.

Speak to a Divorce Financial Settlement Solicitor

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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    • 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.

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    • "Andrew Watson is respected and tenacious in matrimonial finance. You would want him on your team."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "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."

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      Family Department Client

    • "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"

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    • "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."

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    • "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"

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.

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    • 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.

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      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Mark Freedman

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

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      Legal 500 2019

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