Financial Matters.

Financial Issues in Divorce and Separation.

The organisation of your financial affairs, as part of divorce or separation, is a sensitive and complex process.

Our experienced and approachable family law solicitors will support you through these negotiations, providing objective and clear advice aiming to settle all issues quickly and successfully.

The aim of financial settlement at the time of divorce or separation is to meet the reasonable needs of both parties and any dependent children, including their housing needs. Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act sets out the factors for determining the distribution of assets on divorce or separation. The previous standard of living enjoyed by the parties, as well as the value of assets built up during the period of marriage/civil partnership (and sometimes outside that period), all need to be considered. The court will take all the circumstances of the individual case into consideration and has a significant amount of discretion.

It is important to remember that there is a broad range of reasonable settlement outcomes. What you ultimately receive will be what you and your partner agree or, if necessary, the court, decides is fair. Getting advice early on your financial situation ensures you get a realistic understanding of what you can expect to receive and means you can plan with confidence. We are passionate about securing the fairest financial settlements for our clients in the most stress-free way, allowing them to concentrate on their next steps.

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Financial Settlements

Working out exactly what your assets are is the first step in your financial settlement. We can support you through this process and provide advice on how to determine the value of your assets.

You must declare all assets during this process, including any assets which you consider your sole property. Unfortunately, experience shows, sometimes a partner may attempt to hide assets when separation seems inevitable, an action that will always be viewed in a dim light by the courts. Speak to us immediately if you suspect that your partner is taking steps to hide assets before divorce or separation proceedings begin or during the process.

Matrimonial assets

Matrimonial, or marital, assets are the financial assets acquired during the period of marriage/civil partnership, and typically include:

  • Family home
  • Other property such as holiday homes and rentals
  • Pensions
  • Savings and investments
  • Bank and building society balances
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  • Businesses
  • Vehicles
  • Furniture and household contents
Non-matrimonial assets

Financial assets acquired before marriage/civil partnership or after separation are usually treated differently. These are known as non-matrimonial assets. While these assets may be excluded from any financial settlement, that is not necessarily the case. Assets acquired prior to marriage/civil partnership, but then used to acquire items during the marriage/civil partnership, could be included in the financial settlement, for example.

Debts

You should also determine the extent of any debts which have accrued during the period of marriage. It is especially important to organise any debts which are in joint names (joint credit cards or loans taken out together) because creditors can pursue either one of you individually for the debt. As such, should your partner stop making repayments, that obligation would fall solely upon you.

We have a vast amount of experience in unravelling complex financial relationships and will support you throughout the process. We will advise you on the extent of your personal obligations for any debts accrued during your relationship and on the process for financially separating yourself from your joint obligations.

Unethical behaviour

During the financial settlement process, both you and your partner will continue to spend money on living expenses, so may need access to jointly held and accrued funds. Occasionally, situations arise when a spouse or partner makes large withdrawals from a joint account without agreement or seeks to run up large debts in your joint names. If you are concerned about the possibility of your partner acting in this way, contact us and we can explain the precautions which can be taken.

On-going arrangements

In circumstances when one party to the divorce or separation does not have the means to support themselves or any dependents financially, arrangements are usually made for on-going payments. This situation can arise where one party was the sole earner in a relationship. Payments can be for a fixed term or for life.

We have vast experience dealing with these matters and will work together with you to ensure a smooth and reasonable result. We can also advise you of your legal options if a former partner fails to keep up their commitments to on-going payments, including arranging for a court order enforcing payment.

Our Financial Matters in Family Law Expertise

Our Financial Matters legal experts have years of dealing with the financial legalities in divorce and separation. Get in touch today and we would be more than happy to help.

Why choose Lanyon Bowdler?

Our expertise in sensitively and professionally dealing with your financial affairs during divorce or separation is complemented by our passion for understanding your individual circumstances. An indication of our commitment to our clients is our signature of the Armed Forces Covenant and our position as a member on the NFU’s legal panel. We are delighted to make the undertakings required to achieve these positions because we understand the unique issues that can affect members of these communities.

This commitment to customer service extends to our flexible pricing options. We know that the cost of legal services is a concern for many people, and we know that you don’t want to make compromises in relation to the quality of advice you receive. Therefore, we have a number of fee arrangements, including fixed fees and staged payment options, to suit your budget. We will discuss all aspects of cost with you in advance and are committed to full transparency in our pricing, so you will always know what your costs are and when you will need to pay.

As one of the top law firms across our regions, we have the expertise and experience to support you whatever your circumstances. From our bases in Shropshire, Herefordshire and North Wales, we work with clients from across England and Wales. Contact us to discuss your situation, and we can give you more information on the options available to you.

Chambers UK and The Legal 500 rankings

Ranked in Band 1 for Shrewsbury and Surrounds and Band 2 for Hereford, Worcester and surrounds by Chambers UK in their 2024 directory it says we are a ‘well-regarded firm with key offices in Shrewsbury and Hereford. Represents clients in financial matters involving trusts, pensions and overseas assets, such as divorce proceedings and prenuptial agreements, with notable expertise in cases concerning farming families. Also supports clients in complex Children Act matters involving allegations of criminal behaviour and domestic abuse. Offers a range of dispute resolution options, including collaborative law services’.

In the 2024 edition of The Legal 500 we are ranked in Band 2 and comments ‘Lanyon Bowdler has a strong reputation for its work on the full gamut of complex issues involving financial remedy, children and divorce. It is skilled at handling cases where there are business structures and trusts. On the children side, the group frequently advises on internal and external relocation cases, domestic violence and cases involving significant welfare issues.’

We are proud of this reputation for legal expertise, and equally proud to be known as passionate and caring people. We are tenacious and determined in ensuring that your interests are served, but we are also warm and compassionate, committed to providing the best client service on the market. Our team understands that negotiation is usually the most effective way to achieve a settlement, and we are experts in resolving matters without involving court proceedings. Key members of our team are noted for their expertise in this area, with Lisa Grimmett highlighted by Chambers UK for her work in Collaborative Law.

Your Finances in Divorce and Separation questions answered

 

What is a financial order?

In most cases, a financial order from a court is required. Our focus is always on working together with our clients to achieve an amicable out of court settlement whenever possible, backed up with a financial consent order. If you are unable to reach an agreement, then an application can be made to court for financial aspects of your divorce to be determined.

We will act on your behalf in these proceedings, using our knowledge and experience to seek to ensure a fair and satisfactory outcome. The court will consider the length of your relationship, the range of assets, the specific circumstances of each party (including health and earning capacity), the needs of any children of the relationship and the reasonable income and capital needs of each party.

Do I need to make my financial settlement legally binding when going through a divorce?

It is vital to make your financial settlement legally binding because changes to your circumstances following divorce or separation can result in a financial claim. This can happen if one party to the proceedings earns or inherits a large amount of money post-separation, or if one party re-evaluates matters and decides that they have been treated unfairly.

There are cases where changes in financial circumstances decades after a separation have resulted in successful claims. To avoid the possibility of this happening, we will ensure your financial settlement is legally binding.

Do I need a pre-nuptial agreement?

Some couples choose to agree what will happen to their assets, in the event of a breakdown of the relationship, at the outset. Pre-nuptial agreements (or prenups) of this sort are not fully legally binding but will be considered by the court and followed, providing certain requirements are satisfied.

Our experienced team has worked on pre-nuptial agreements for people from a wide range of backgrounds and understand both the legal requirements and the practical sensitivities. We will ensure your arrangements abide by the guidelines and fully recognise your wishes.

If you have a prenup in place, it is important that you discuss the agreement with us to ensure you are clear about what was agreed.

What happens to my pension if I get divorced?

Provision needs to be made in any financial settlement for the position of each party in retirement. There are three main ways that pensions are dealt with on divorce.

Pension sharing

Pension sharing is a common, tax efficient, approach. The value of the pension held by one party is split, ensuring that each partner has their own pension. This allows for a clean break in financial arrangements, and each partner can then deal with their share of the pension pot as they wish.

Pension offsetting

Another option is to offset the value of the pension against other assets, allocating assets of a different nature, such as the family home, to the other person. This allows one partner to keep the whole of the pension, while the other partner is adequately provided for. This is also finalised on divorce, so allows for a clean financial break.

The offsetting process may involve one partner receiving a greater share of the family home, or other property. We will work together with you to accurately value all your assets to ensure that any division is fair.

Pension attachment order

A less common option on divorce is pension attachment (previously known as earmarking). This involves some or all of the pension benefits due to one partner being ordered to be paid to the other.

There are a number of difficulties with this approach, including the fact that the second party has no control over their pension income – it only starts to be paid when the pension holder chooses to retire. Payments under a pension attachment order also stop when the pension holder dies, or if the recipient remarries. These factors, plus the fact that this approach does not involve a clean break financially, means that pension attachment is rare, with most people choosing pension sharing.

State Pensions

A basic State Pension cannot be shared on separation or divorce. It is possible to increase your own basic State Pension by using your former partner’s National Insurance contributions, without impacting the State Pension they receive. Any additional State Pension entitlements could be ordered by the court to be shared.

What happens to my property if I get divorced?

For people who own one, the family home is usually the biggest asset involved in any divorce or separation settlement. Arrangements regarding property can often be the biggest cause of stress between the parties, so getting advice on your options is key. We will ensure you fully understand your rights and the choices available to you.

Usually, people stop living in the same house on separation or divorce and choose from one of the following:

  • Sell the property and split the money
  • One party buys out the other, taking full ownership of the property
  • The property is transferred, leaving one party with full ownership, and the other with a right to a share of any sale proceeds at a later date
  • Both parties continue to legally own the property, although only one person remains living there
  • An order is made that the property will be sold at some future date (often when all dependent children leave home), with the proceeds of sale being divided at that point as the court decides

Mortgages on divorce or separation

If you have taken out a joint mortgage, both parties are responsible for repayments. This means the lender can require either one of you to make repayments if the other stops paying. In circumstances where the property is not sold and the mortgage paid off, mortgages are usually reviewed so that only one person is named as the borrower.

What happens to my company if I divorce?

Couples involved in running a business together will need to make arrangements following separation or divorce. It can be a complex process to determine the value of a business asset, and the court may well treat a family business as a source of income rather than an asset – this may mean that a party, who had little or no involvement in the business, may be entitled to a portion of its value.

Negotiations will need to take place to settle the value of the business assets, and how the company will be run in the future. Most people choose to make a clean break, with one partner exiting the company through a transfer or buy-back of their shares. We have experience dealing with these situations, and we will support you through each step of the process.

Do non-married couples have any financial rights?

Under English law, cohabiting non-married couples do not have the same rights as married couples. The concept of a “common law” husband or wife is a myth. As such, if you choose not to get married or enter into a civil partnership, the most sensible choice is to enter into a cohabitation agreement, which sets out each person’s rights and obligations during the cohabitation and upon separation.

Where such an agreement exists, the process of separation is straight-forward. If there is no cohabitation agreement, there is often little that the family law courts can do if the couple cannot agree between themselves how to divide up their property. The distribution of disputed assets will often be determined purely on the basis on which the property is owned, so it is important to take this into consideration when purchasing items of significant value or importance.

If an unmarried couple with children separate, the law is designed to protect the welfare of the children, so, if the couple cannot agree the financial or living arrangements, the court can be asked to make a judgment.

Testimonials

What our clients say.

I would not hesitate to recommend LB Solicitors to anyone needing guidance and representation for family law or divorce proceedings. My solicitor was thorough and diligent, balancing professional rigour with fairness, reasonableness and sensitivity. I feel this approach helped me to obtain a satisfactory settlement avoiding costly and unnecessary conflict.

Jon
via ReviewSolicitors

Since dealing with Lanyon Bowdler they have been diligent, efficient and at all times very helpful along with being structured in dealing with matters, fees and clarity on all levels. Thank you.

Michael
via ReviewSolicitors

I was clearly informed of progress step by step. The service you provided was very good.

Peter Weston
Shrewsbury

All work carried out effectively and efficiently.

Hubert Jones
via ReviewSolicitors

An excellent service with solicitors that you can talk to and who give you a clear understanding of all necessary legal implications and interpretations.

Eric
via ReviewSolicitors

From start to finish we had excellent service. Friendly, approachable and professional.

Carl Gittins
via ReviewSolicitors

Used Lanyon Bowdler for conveyancing and for legal advice – both solicitors I worked with were effective and professional. Law firm was fast and responsive to queries and clear pricing.

Samantha
via ReviewSolicitors

Very clear, concise advice and guidance, easy to understand.

Ian Jamieson
Telford

Good service provided throughout with clear communication throughout with all options explored.

Lee

I was impressed with the forensic approach to identifying, securing, assessing and presenting evidence over the two years that it took to finally resolve the issue.

Timothy
via ReviewSolicitors

I can thoroughly recommend the highly professional and supportive service received over the last few months.

Heather
via ReviewSolicitors

Responsive, supportive, approachable, clear and empathetic.

Lisa Thacker

Professional and prompt communication. Supportive and client focused.

Lisa Thacker
Jennifer M Whittall Ltd

Whenever I have had need to contact Lanyon Bowdler I have always received a fast, concise and friendly response.

Lee Mortimer
UK Case Management

Definitely would use Lanyon Bowdler again if I need the use of a solicitor.

Mark Bowkett
via ReviewSolicitors

Smooth and efficient service from very professional firm.

Tim
via ReviewSolicitors

We were particularly impressed with the quality of work, the speed and excellent communication.

Allenby Douglas Ltd
Oswestry

Very friendly and approachable. Very good advice

Ivor Brown
via ReviewSolicitors

Great Service; Lanyon Bowdler were excellent from the outset. Straightforward and easy process. I just sat back and waited.

Paul Rowe
via ReviewSolicitors

Everything has been professional, efficient and courteous throughout and we are very pleased, both with the service and with the eventual outcome of our case. Everything was first class and exceeded our expectations. Thank you again for providing such splendid service. It is really appreciated.

Mr N J & Dr S J Browne
Llanfyllin

Podcast

Our podcast, The Legal Lounge, offers a number of useful episode about family law including this one on divorce and financial resolution.

Contact the Family Law Team at Lanyon Bowdler

Lanyon Bowdler is a member of the Law Society Family Panel and accredited specialist with Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers, so you can be sure our solicitors are experienced in all aspects of the law in England and Wales.

Our divorce lawyers are approachable and professional, and will always adopt a balanced and practical approach to negotiations, minimising conflict and working to an acceptable outcome for you. Our aim is to achieve amicable resolutions swiftly, but if litigation is necessary we have the experience and know-how to deal with the courts effectively.

Please give us a call for a friendly, confidential, chat about how we can help support you when you or your family need legal advice and representation. Please contact a member of the team or complete our online enquiry form.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for family law legal advice, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on hand no matter what the situation. We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes. Our Family Law Solicitors team has great experience in all areas of family law and family mediation.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

Our people

Meet the team.

Sue Hodgson
Sue Hodgson
Partner
Family Law
Jon Moriarty
Jon Moriarty
Partner
Family Law
Philippa Pearson
Philippa Pearson
Partner
Family Law
Georgia Rowney
Georgia Rowney
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Lizzie Cross
Lizzie Cross
Trainee Solicitor
Family
Mia Williams
Mia Williams
Trainee Solicitor
Family Law
Anne Lewis
Anne Lewis
Associate Legal Executive (FCILEX)
Family Law
Lisa Grimmett
Lisa Grimmett
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Caroline Yorke
Caroline Yorke
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Fiona Cooper
Fiona Cooper
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Rachel Tomley
Rachel Tomley
Solicitor
Family Law
Erin Payne
Erin Payne
Paralegal Apprentice
Family Law
Staci Robinson
Staci Robinson
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Solicitor
Family Law
Knowledge

Case studies.

Knowledge

Latest knowledge.

Podcast icon Podcast

Parental Responsibility in Family Law – Laura Jones and Staci Robinson

Laura and Staci discuss parental responsibility, a law surrounding the raising of children. ...
Published • 20 May 2024
Podcast icon Podcast

The Law Behind Predatory Marriages – Edward Rees and Claire Vale

People get married for many reasons but in cases of predatory marriages, the victim will be vulnerable....
Published • 15 Jan 2024
Podcast icon Podcast

The Pathfinders Pilot Scheme in North Wales for Children – Jon Moriarty and Caroline Yorke

Caroline and Jon, discuss the pathfinders pilot scheme, explaining how the new approach is designed to boost the voice o...
Published • 27 Nov 2023
Podcast icon Podcast

Appointing Guardians for Children in the Event of your Death – Sioned Williams and Caroline Yorke

Sioned and Caroline discuss the serious topic of appointing a guardian for your child or children in the event of your d...
Published • 20 Nov 2023
Podcast icon Podcast

Pitfalls and Problems in Family Law Cases – Jon Moriarty and Caroline Yorke

Caroline and Jon discuss the trials and tribulations that are found within family law cases....
Published • 13 Nov 2023
Podcast icon Podcast

Divorce and Pensions – Caroline Yorke and Ian Conlon

Caroline speaks with Ian Conlon from IWC Actuarial; an actuary specialising in providing expert reports in relation to f...
Published • 23 Oct 2023
Podcast icon Podcast

How to Help your Solicitor – Jon Moriarty and Caroline Yorke

Caroline and Jon explain how being prepared with key information and having relevant documents to hand may ultimately re...
Published • 09 Oct 2023
Blog

DIY Divorce and Pensions

Frequently, we are approached by a spouse who has already started a divorce application themselves and/or reached a...
Jon Moriarty • 12 Sep 2023
Blog

Do I Need a Court Order in Relation to the ...

You’ve started a divorce application, or are divorced, and you’ve reached an agreement about the financial settleme...
Jon Moriarty • 05 Sep 2023
Blog

The Re-Marriage Trap and Some Other Conside...

Following the introduction of “no-fault” divorce in England and Wales on 6 April 2022, spouses who are separating m...
Jon Moriarty • 29 Aug 2023
Blog

Pension Pitfalls – A Cautionary Tale For Th...

We have seen a number of cases where, following a final order being made by the court, the relevant documentation h...
Jon Moriarty • 22 Aug 2023
Blog

Travelling with Children – Legal Issues to ...

It is important, where the parents are separated or there are court orders in place, to check the position since, i...
Caroline Yorke • 14 Jul 2023
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