Divorce and Financial Remedy

Nicola Rushton
Nicola Rushton

Published: October 11th, 2022

7 min read

In case this news has passed you by, the law on divorce changed in April 2022 for the first time in over 5 decades. It is no longer necessary to allege 'grounds' for a divorce against your spouse. A step that has been long campaigned for amongst Family Lawyers, as far back as November 2016. I and a contingent of fellow lawyers attended the Houses of Parliament to lobby our MPs about the need for the change. Happily, at long last this has been brought into law. The process for obtaining a dissolution of a marriage is a more dignified and does not require a list of faults/behaviour you allege against your other half. The current Divorce system is centralised in Bury-St-Edmonds Court, with all new applications to be lodged online.

Once lodged with the court there is a statutory waiting period before the applicant can apply for a conditional order and then a final order. During these months it is useful for the separating parties to look at how they are to divide their assets. There are several ways to approach the method to achieve a division of the assets.

Before any process is entered into, it is crucial that there is a full disclosure of all assets, and that such disclosure include an up-to-date valuation, including any pension assets, property valuation and any investments or business interests.

  • Direct discussion between you both, often a cost-effective way. It is advisable to have the benefit of expert legal advice before reaching any final decision, and any agreement reached be encompassed within the terms of a Consent Order approved and ratified by a Judge.
  • Negotiation through your respective legal advisors, again this can be costs effective when both parties are committed to reaching a fair and reasonable settlement, with each party having the benefit of expert guidance.
  • Mediation - where both parties attend mediation together and can negotiate terms of division that they are happy with, again both parties ought to take legal advice before finalising any agreement reached. Find out more about mediation here.
  • Private Arbitration - where the parties commit to implementing the decision of the Judge - who will be sitting privately and the decision the Judge makes can then be ratified within a Court Order. The advantage of this is that the delays within the court system can be avoided and any dates of hearings can be scheduled at the convenience of all parties.
  • Financial Remedy Court - an application is submitted to the court and the court issue a timetable that the case will follow, the Judge will make the final decision on the division of the assets, though during the process the parties are encouraged to reach agreement on all or some aspects of the case. To find out more about the Financial Remedy Court procedure click here.

It is essential to anyone facing divorce and separation to seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity, the more valuable the assets, the more important it is that you consult a lawyer with the expertise in Financial Remedy matters. It is particularly important to take advice when there are pension assets or business assets. Choose your lawyer carefully, and ensure they have the expertise you need.

To find out more about dividing business assets click here.

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