When couples separate, one of the most difficult and worrying aspects is how to resolve the joint finances. This applies to married couples, civil partners and unmarried couples. If you are not married, please see our page on Unmarried Couples – Separation
For married couples and civil partners the legal position is, for practical purposes, the same. Spouses and Civil Partners are entitled to a financial settlement and are able to claim for financial relief in the family courts alongside Divorce or Dissolution proceedings.
Provision can be made for sharing property, cash, investments, income and pensions.
As with Divorce or Dissolution, it is hoped that an agreement in respect of the finances can be reached amicably between the parties and without the need for either to attend Court.
A final resolution can be reached through:
1. Mediation 2. Negotiation between Solicitors 3. Arbitration 4. Court proceedings
In order to get the best resolution and to have access to the best advice, it will be necessary for you and your spouse or civil partner to disclose to each other your financial positions. It is essential that any resolution is reached fairly and that you fully understand the assets and the claims that you may have.
Once an agreement or resolution has been reached, it is sensible to draw up a document to reflect that agreement. This can be by way of a Separation Agreement or a Court Order. In general and where appropriate, we advise you to obtain a Court Order. This can be done by consent and without a Court hearing. A Court Order formalises the position and allows certain provisions to be made, which cannot be made via a Separation Agreement, such as Pension Sharing Orders or dismissal of future financial claims.