Divorce and Financial Orders
For most spouses who are going through divorce proceedings, the actual process of contemplating how they can separate their assets can be stressful and worrying. Some parties are surprised to hear that assets are not always divided equally.
Discussions in relation to the division of assets are dealt with separately to the divorce and in most cases, the two run alongside each other. There are various ways of trying to guide parties to reach a settlement. Both Amanda and Oi-Yuyn are accredited members of Resolution which means they are highly specialised and committed to trying to resolve matters amicably and cost effectively. They can help you to try to achieve a settlement by negotiating the settlement with the other party or alternatively you may wish to resolve your matter by attending mediation.
If an agreement is reached, either through negotiations, between the parties and lawyers; or after the parties have attended mediation, then it is important that the agreement is recorded within a Consent Order and sent to the court for approval. A District Judge will make sure that the agreement reached is fair and reasonable before approving it. The importance of a Consent Order is to try to achieve a clean break, which can prevent a party from applying to the court to make future claims against the other party. As each case is different, it is not always possible to achieve a total clean break; therefore, parties should always seek legal advice.
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, then the court will have to make the decision for them. Unfortunately under the jurisdiction of England and Wales, there are no rules setting out precisely how assets will be divided upon divorce. A divorce court can give wide discretion when considering the redistribution of assets and will take into consideration all the circumstances of the case. The court will then apply the factors which are set out under s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. These are as follows:-
- The income and earning capacity of each party, details of any properties they own and any other financial resources they have both currently and in the foreseeable future
- Each party’s financial needs, obligations and liabilities both currently and in the foreseeable future
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- The length of the marriage and the ages of the parties
- Any physical or mental disability with either party may suffer from
- Contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage both financially and otherwise, which could also mean caring for the children
- Any conduct by either of the parties which cannot be ignored by the judge, such conduct must be gross conduct that in the courts opinion would be unfair to disregard
- The value of any benefits which either of the parties will lose the opportunity of acquiring as a result of divorce, this could include pensions.
Ultimately the court will try to achieve a fair outcome. However, what may be seen as fair to a wife may not seem fair to a husband and vice versa. Therefore, it is important for the parties and lawyers to try to reach an agreement before any final hearing is set by the court.
MIAMs meetings are Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings which are now compulsory to attend before issuing an application with the court. Before filing an application for a financial order, the applicant is required to attend a MIAM meeting. The purpose of a MIAM meeting is to provide information about other processes and ways of trying to resolve a dispute out of court and to also provide other services, advice or support.
Our family team is able to offer MIAM meetings for a fee of £87 plus vat (£104.40) and if mediation is suitable for your matter and both parties attend mediation, then this amount will be taken towards the cost of your first mediation session.
If mediation is not suitable for whatever reason and you proceed down the court route, we can sign the relevant part of your application form to verify you have attended a MIAM meeting.
For further information of the issues contained above please contact Oi-Yuyn Wong on 01329 232314 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org