Everybody starts the divorce process in different places. Some know exactly what Financial orders on Divorce they want out of the process, whether this be realistic or not, others really don’t know where to start and what they should be asking for, seeking what they feel is fair and equitable.
We will always try and encourage our clients to try and resolve their financial affairs as amicable as possible and without court intervention. Mediation is a great way of doing this and can save you considerable cost and time and help you to maintain a working relationship for you and the kids. You are then able to obtain a financial order on Divorce by consent which can be dealt with administratively.
However, what are the options available to you and what orders can a court make if an application was made?
If you ask the court to make a financial award in a divorce case, it has a number of options open to it. In reaching a decision, it will try to ensure that the financial needs of both parties are met.
If there are children involved, then the court will always place their needs first. Financial orders deal with capital and property, maintenance and pensions. The court will put together a combination that it feels deals fairly with the situation. While the starting point is a 50:50 split, where one party is in a financially weaker position, for example, because they have given up their career to care for children and consequently have a much smaller income, then they may receive a larger share of the available assets to cater for this. The overriding objective being that each party be put into equal positions.
The courts can make the following orders:
The court prefers that couples agree divorce arrangements between themselves, including in respect of financial matters. If you are able to find an acceptable solution, then this will be put in writing and put before the court for sealing into a consent order.
This means that your agreement will become legally binding. It is important to ensure you have a court order in place, even if you are able to separate amicably, because without a court order it is open to your former spouse to make a financial claim against you at a later date, even many years into the future. Further to this there may be assets which can only be shared / implemented if incorporated within a court order such as Pensions.
Clean break order
If you do not have assets to divide in a divorce, you should obtain a clean break order so that your financial liabilities to each other are ended. This protects you against any future claims in the event of your financial circumstances changing for the better in the future.
Property adjustment order
This includes property as well as other valuable items such as cars or investments. If the matrimonial home is transferred to one party, then the other party is likely to receive a larger share of other assets by way of compensation such as a lump sum to buy them out of their share of the property.
Sale of property order
The court may order that a property be sold so that the proceeds of sale can be split in a specified way between the parties. This is more likely if there are no children involved or if there is sufficient equity in the property and other circumstances to ensure both parties can be rehoused on a sale. If there are children living in the home, then the court can defer sale until the youngest reaches 18.
Lump sum order
Payment of a lump sum by one party to the other can be either in return for another asset or to support a party who is less financially resilient, giving them the means to retrain or allowing them to stay at home with children while they are young.
Child maintenance order
This is a regular payment to provide for the children of the family, generally made to the parent who has the main day-to-day care of them. This can only be made by consent or unless the Child Maintenance Service doesn’t otherwise have jurisdiction
Spousal maintenance order
Maintenance to a spouse may be ordered where one party needs financial support. The court prefers that the parties work towards a point where they can support themselves, so a spousal maintenance order may be for a set period of time only but can also be for life.
Pension sharing order
A pension sharing order allows part of a pension to be put aside for the other spouse, so that it becomes theirs. They can transfer it if they wish and draw on it once they reach retirement age.
Earmarking pension order
Part of one spouse’s pension is paid to the other spouse once the pension holder retires. This is a less popular option as the second spouse has no control over when the pension will start and could lose out if the person dies.
Pension offsetting order
The court offsets the value of the pension against other assets, for example, giving one party the matrimonial home while the other gets to keep their whole pension.
It is always advisable to seek legal advice when considering your financial orders on Divorce.
If you would like to speak to one of our expert family lawyers ring us on 0151 8 32 32 53 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can arrange an appointment to speak with one of our team here