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Matrimonial Finances

At ORJ, we take a sensitive and professional approach in discussing your financial arrangements on divorce. 

Speaking to a family lawyer about your marriage breakdown can feel daunting – and many couples put off the discussion feeling that talking about it, is an admission of failure. Add in the complex issue of matrimonial finances and it’s easy to see why many couples don’t reach out to a solicitor until they reach a crisis point.

Our matrimonial finance advice in Stafford and Telford is highly specialised.  We take the time to understand your unique situation and advise on how best to divide your assets in a legal, fair and above all, amicable way. 

Our services include:

  • Advice on how to split your assets, including pensions, property, savings, investments, business interests and life assurance policies to name a few
  • Understanding your financial dependencies and ensuring each partner receives a fair settlement
  • Maintenance payments and duties
  • Future financial arrangements

What are the rules around matrimonial finances on divorce?

The short answer is that there is no definitive set of rules that govern who gets what as part of a divorce settlement, as each circumstance is unique to the couple involved.  Couples may or may not have children or dependants and the family home may be rented rather than owned for example, so the courts aim to retain a good degree of flexibility with a view to reaching the best outcome for both parties.

What is clear, however, is that marriage is a contract between two parties, and as such, ex-partners can make a financial claim against each other in the future.  While you do not have to agree to a financial settlement on divorce, it is highly recommended that you take specialist legal advice to help reach an agreement and have a consent order in place.

What is a consent order?

Put simply, a consent order is a legally-binding document, approved by the court that sets out the financial agreement entered into by both parties on divorce – protecting you from future financial claims.  The consent order is prepared on the following principles:

  • That assets from the marriage are shared fairly (which may not always mean ‘equally’) between parties, taking into account the financial contribution that each spouse has made during the marriage
  • The both parties agree to keep to the agreement

What would be considered in any decisions on matrimonial finances?

Although the court has a good degree of flexibility over the fair division of assets during divorce proceedings, there are a number of guiding principles on which financial settlements can be reached.

Children’s needs

The current and future needs of any children in the family will always be the court’s initial starting point.  This will include ensuring that accommodation is provided for any children and the parent that will look after these children for the majority of the time, must receive adequate financial support to do so.  In many instances, parents share joint responsibility for childcare and the court will seek to make housing and other financial arrangements equal.

Fair division of assets

In law, the roles of both parties are considered as equal, whether one person has been the main earner and the other has taken more responsibility for childcare and the running of the home.  There can be no discrimination between the two and assets must be divided fairly, focusing on what is needed financially in the future rather than the role that each party played during the marriage.

Financial future needs

It is important to meet the future needs of each party and the court will seek to achieve this from the available assets.  These are commonly referred to as ‘matrimonial property’ and compromise the assets that have been acquired jointly during the marriage, which the court will aim to divide equally.

In some instances, non-matrimonial assets, including gifts and inheritances from other family members, may be referred to and divided unequally according to the party they relate to.

A clean break

The court will aim to achieve a clean break between both parties so that, upon divorce, there are no remaining financial links, other than any child maintenance payments where applicable.

Next steps…

Our family law solicitors are here to support and provide matrimonial finance advice in Stafford and Telford. If you wish to discuss your financial situation, we offer a FREE 30-minute consultation. Get in touch with us or call on: 01785 223440