Written by Victoria Emens at RWK Goodman.
Family lawyers and others have welcomed the more amicable way of obtaining a divorce following the introduction of no‑fault divorce on 6 April 2022. The online divorce portal is now readily in use both by Litigants in Person and solicitors. With the new law, it is now even more important than ever to address a financial settlement in conjunction with any divorce or separation, particularly if you are obtaining your own divorce via the online divorce portal.
Frequently couples will amicably agree on a financial settlement direct with one another at home ‘around the kitchen table’. With this approach, it is still important that legal advice is obtained on a potential settlement to ensure that it meets your needs and is likely to be approved by the Court. It is imperative that any agreement reached is set out in a legally binding Financial Remedy Order, which will address three key areas capital, pensions and income. If it is appropriate in your case, the order may dismiss all future financial claims that you have against your husband or wife and provide a clean break. A Financial Remedy Order will need to be drafted by a solicitor using special court precedents.
During the process, it will be necessary for financial disclosure to be provided by both parties, either by way of an overview or by a more in depth financial disclosure process. This is so the parties, their representatives and the Court receive a clear picture of the nature, value and extent of the matrimonial assets and the financial positions of the parties, before the settlement is made and the effect of the settlement on the parties once it is in place. Advice can be provided to you on whether your agreement is a ‘good deal’ for you and fair and if it is within the range of Orders that the Court is likely to approve.
If an agreement on the division of matrimonial assets is reached but never embodied in an Order. Or if the assets of the marriage are simply divided up, without an Order being in place, the parties’ financial claims against one another will be left open indefinitely. This creates an unsatisfactory and uncertain position, with the potential for future claims being pursued by either party. This could result in costly litigation later down the line which could have been avoided had the finances been addressed earlier.
If matters are amicable and all agreed, your legal costs should not be excessive and a Financial Order will give you that all all important peace of mind and provide financial security for the future. It is therefore essential that matrimonial advice is obtained if you have reached a home-style financial settlement.
Victoria Emens is an associate in the family team at RWK Goodman and can be reached on 01793 847734 or at email@example.com.