We identify our clients’ needs and tailor our work to each set of circumstances, providing high quality, cost effective advice. We are a multi-disciplinary practice and work collaboratively to provide a comprehensive service across all of our practice areas.
The issues raised by separation and divorce are momentous, and can be lifelong – particularly those relating to finance.
The Court can make orders relating to capital assets, which involve their transfer or sale, and these cannot usually be revisited in the future. It may also make income orders (“maintenance”) which can last for a specific period or during the joint lives of the parties. Income orders may be revisited (see “Variation of existing financial orders” below), but those made at the start will often continue to have influence. Whatever the other pressures at this most difficult time, specialist legal advice at this stage is terribly important.
The courts powers in this area are a matter of legislation. However, the way they will be applied is left substantially to the Judges themselves. This means that while the broad approach that will be taken by the Courts is well established, it is an ever developing area, and every case is different and dependant on its particular facts and circumstances. This is particularly the case where assets exceed the needs of the separated parties and those of minor children. There is no substitute for an up to the minute knowledge (which we always have) of case law, and of the developments in judicial thinking.
We always hope cases can be settled through discussion and agreement – many are – to avoid the cost to you (not just in money) of a final Court hearing. Matters settled by negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration, still result in a Court Order (and therefore have the force of law). We can advise on all these aspects.
Whatever method you choose to resolve your financial issues, the starting point of any discussion is always full and frank financial disclosure by both parties. This is usually done by each party completing a comprehensive form setting out what their respective assets, income, liabilities and needs are and we can complete these with you using specialist software to make this process as straightforward as possible.
If you have substantial connections with more than one country, you may have cause to seek financial assistance within the UK after an overseas divorce or annulment.
If an Order made in another country has caused, or could cause hardship, then there is a mechanism in this country for the Court to make Orders for financial provision in relation to that foreign divorce.
The Supreme Court has had cause to look at the law and procedure surrounding such cases, and there are certain considerations that this Court must consider before it agrees to exercise its powers to grant financial relief. These require the Court to look at the connection which each of the parties has with England and Wales, and with the country in which the marriage was dissolved or annulled, and the impact of the financial orders originally made.
As such cases are fairly rare, and the permission of the High Court is needed before any application can be made, such cases are procedurally quite complex. We have experience in dealing with these applications and would be happy to help if you faced with such a situation.
Variation of existing financial orders
Times change. All financial orders reflect the circumstances at the time they are made but, if these change, then, in some circumstances, orders can be varied, either by agreement or through an application to the Court.
Our team is experienced in guiding both parties through this process.