The breakdown of any marriage is excruciatingly sad. While emotions are running high, sometimes potentially out of control, it’s important, vital, in fact, not to lose sight of the fact that divorce is also a legal and financial matter.
Finance is something that every divorcing spouse has to consider. The financial settlement will set the course for the rest of your life.
How much will each spouse end up with once they are no longer married? There is no set formula. Each divorce is assessed on its own merits. So, bear in mind the following which will help you understand how it all works:
The court first needs to determine the financial position of both parties. This consists of the couple’s income from all sources, all their capital such as property, business interests and pensions, investments, savings, insurances. Other assets might include ownership of a property occupied by someone else or an interest in a trust.
Some spouses will try to hide some of their earnings or assets, but such a deception is often uncovered, particularly if a forensic accountant is on the case. Once the court is satisfied that all of the couple’s finances have been accounted for, the next step is to decide how it will be divided.
Assessing each person’s reasonable need is a vital part of this step and this is an area the lawyers in my firm cover day in and day out. They know where to start and help to guide people through what at first sight looks like a minefield.
People are understandably reluctant to take legal advice. It’s scary and could be expensive. They think they know the law anyhow. But the truth is, unless they are divorce lawyers, they just don’t. It sounds like a cliché, divorce is not just the end of something, but also the beginning. A whole new chapter of your life is about to start, so having an idea about your reasonable needs will help you when it is time to divide the assets.
For example: Where are you going to live? How could you afford to stay in the house if you don’t want to move? Will you be able to afford a house of your own? How much of an income will you need? What outgoings will your income need to cover? If you have children, who will they live with? How much will caring for them cost? In short: How are you going to manage for the rest of your life?
These are just some of the questions you have to consider when getting divorced.
So don’t lose out because you didn’t want to face the tough questions. Your answers now could drastically impact your future.
If you have any questions about this or any other aspect of divorce law, you might find the answer by watching my divorce advice videos. They were produced in response to some of the questions I hear most regularly. Alternatively, you could pick up a copy of my book, Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a top divorce lawyer.I wrote it to help people who are starting to go through a divorce and have no idea where to begin. All proceeds from the book are going to The Children’s Society.