Finances on Separation Solicitors
One of the leading causes of disagreement in divorce proceedings is how separating couples split their debts and assets, and manage their finances going forward. Having an initial consultation with a family lawyer early on can help you resolve arguments fairly and amicably, and potentially prevent the expense and stress of needing a Court Order to determine what happens with your money.
Finances and Separation or Divorce
Some couples can separate their finances with relative ease, but this tends to be only those couples who entered the relationship with similar assets and are still financially equal. Where couples have children, debts or one earns significantly more than the other, it can take longer to agree on financial arrangements in separation or divorce.
Immediate Financial Concerns
The first financial concerns you are likely to face will be to do with your daily living expenses. Who will pay the rent or mortgage? If you are the party who moves out, but your name is on the mortgage, then you have a financial responsibility to keep your repayments up to date. You may feel angry and betrayed by your partner, but it is best to keep all financial arrangements as they are until you have had time to speak to a specialist divorce lawyer who can advise about making changes.
Consider the impact your actions will have on your ex-partner, such as withdrawing half or all the money from a joint account or changing details with utility suppliers. Any act which is perceived as aggressive and non-collaborative has the potential to make your separation expensive, drawn-out and acrimonious.
Turning one household into two can stretch your finances considerably but be aware of you or your partner amassing debt. Discuss expenses and arrangements and talk to your bank or lawyer if you are concerned your partner may use your overdraft or credit cards excessively.
Maintenance is when the partner with the higher income regularly contributes to the living expenses of their ex-partner. It can be paid even if there are no dependent children. Maintenance can be agreed between a separating couple in their Deed of Separation, or it may be determined by a court instruction where a judge will decide the amount and terms of payments.
Assets and the Family Home
If your name is not on the mortgage, but you live in the property and contribute to the running costs – for example, if you pay your spouse rent or contribute to the bills – then you have a right to continue to live in your matrimonial home. Seek legal advice if you suspect your spouse may remortgage or sell the house without your knowledge or agreement. English family law differs if you are an unmarried couple, so talk to family law solicitors about your rights.
Savings and Pensions
Savings and pensions are considered assets and your ex-partner may be able to claim some of this money even if they did not contribute to it. Pensions can be a particularly contentious issue as what you decide now could affect you, and your new spouse if you remarry, years in the future. There are several options for dividing pensions including pension sharing, deferred pension sharing, and offsetting, paying a deferred lump sum, and obtaining a Pension Attachment Order.
Contact your family law professional if you are worried that your partner may be hiding assets, or you need advice and guidance on your finances and separation.
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