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FAQs

From the list below choose one of our FAQs topics, then select an FAQ to read. If you have a question which is not in this section, please contact us.
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How does 'Pension Sharing' work?

Pension Sharing - if a petition for divorce has been filed after the 1st December 2000, it is possible to divide pensions between spouses on divorce. This solution can help to make a clean break possible where previously long-term maintenance would have been contemplated.

How long will I receive Spousal Maintenance for?

This will depend on the length of the marriage and whether or not there are children. If the marriage is short and there are no children, no maintenance may be payable. There would often be a clean break after a readjustment of capital assets in these circumstance.

Do I qualify for Spousal Maintenance?

The court will order Spousal Maintenance to be paid by one party to the other if it feels that such periodical payments are necessary to achieve a fair settlement.

Can I take Spousal Maintenance as a lump sum?

Once a spousal maintenance figure has been agreed then it is sometimes possible to also agree to capitalise the spousal maintenance.

This means working out what lump sum figure you should receive instead of the normal periodic payments. The court will consider the size of the monthly payment and the expected period of time that it would be paid for - and come up with a lump sum equivalent.

Of course this is only possible in cases where there are enough assets in the pot for a lump sum payment to be made.

Capitalised Spousal Maintenance would normally imply that there is a clean break.

Will I have to share my inheritance?

This is an area which often creates misunderstandings. The fact is that, usually, if an inheritance has been received before the divorce, then it forms part of what is in the pot and available for division.

It will be a resource; when it comes to dividing who gets what, it will be relevant.

Of course, it is important to acknowledge that the money or property came from one family rather than the other.

Will I get to keep the house? Or will it have to be sold?

When considering the capital resources of the family, the central issue is usually the family home.

After resolving the short-term maintenance arrangements, it will often be the first issue that has to be dealt with.

What happens to the home is likely to be a central part of any financial settlement.

What kind of financial orders can the court make in divorce proceedings?

Maintenance orders, Lump sum orders, Transfers of property and Pension Sharing Orders
This article contains a fuller description each of these.

What are my rights to money and property when my marriage ends?

When a marriage has broken down the court has the power to make any orders about finances or property which seem to the court to be just, including maintenance orders. The court will look at every bit of property or capital owned by the husband or wife.

Each spouse must complete a document which gives a comprehensive account of his or her financial position. The court then looks at the facts of the particular marriage to help it decide what orders it can make which will be fair to everyone. When it does so, it has to keep in mind that if there are any children of the marriage, the interests of those children will be the most important consideration. This often means that the parent with children living with him or her will be more likely to keep the home, at least until the children have all finished their full-time education.

Should I close our joint banking accounts at the outset?

Many couples do not make any changes to their banking arrangements until financial negotiations are well advanced.
But if there is a risk that large sums may be drawn out - or if there is a risk that credit or charge cards may be used inappropriately - then it may be safer to take action to prevent this.
The danger is that if an account or credit card is suddenly frozen, solicitors may be involved immediately to ask for maintenance arrangements to be set up - perhaps through the courts. This may be an unforeseen and costly consequence.
Much depends on whether you can trust each other enough to leave things as they are. If you need to rearrange the accounts on separation we recommend that you try to agree those changes first. Think about mediation.

Is a 50/50 split the usual financial settlement?

You may have read in the papers about 'big money' cases - where the assets available for division clearly exceed the parties' needs - have focused on the concept of equality of outcome. Contributions to the running of the home and the bringing up of children are valued equally by the court on divorce to contributions made by earned income. There may be other considerations -

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