Divorce Financial Settlements

Following divorce, it’s often the financial negotiations that can cause some difficulty. Whilst it’s important to ensure your own financial stability, it can also be difficult to reach an agreement that both of you consider to be fair.

As family law specialists, we will provide support and advice on what is a realistic outcome. The best way of resolving your financial separation is through negotiation where possible. Negotiation affords you more control over the outcome. Within our family law team, we have trained collaborative lawyers who can help you reach an amicable financial agreement together.

Reaching an agreement is not possible for everyone. If a court application becomes necessary, our divorce solicitors will support you through the court process to secure the best outcome for you. We will always discuss which approach is best for you in your circumstances.

With decades of experience across our family law team, our divorce finance solicitors can provide the skilled, empathetic and pragmatic legal support you need to successfully secure the right divorce settlement for you and your loved ones, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Our divorce and separation can also assist with all of the other aspects of divorce, including initiating and responding to divorce proceedings and making arrangements for children.

Get in touch with our divorce finance specialists in Bristol

To speak to our specialist divorce solicitors in Bristol about making a financial settlement, contact us on 0117 325 2929, click here to make an immediate start online or complete our online enquiry form.

In some areas of family law, we offer a complimentary initial telephone call of up to 30 minutes with a member of our family law team. This meeting is designed for you to get to know your solicitor and discuss your options. If specific advice is required and you’d like to continue past the 30 minutes, please let your solicitor know and you may be able to carry on into a more detailed consultation. This time will be chargeable, but your solicitor will tell you how much it will be.

Our divorce finance settlement services

In most cases, we can help you agree on a divorce settlement voluntarily. Either through straightforward negotiation with your ex-partner or their solicitor or via non-confrontational dispute resolution methods, such as family mediation.

Assets that may be considered for a divorce settlement include:

  • Your family home and any other property you own
  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Pension entitlements
  • Family businesses

Blog | What is financial disclosure in divorce?

Non-court dispute resolution

There are a variety of options to help divorcing couples reach financial settlements out of court. The most commonly used options are mediation and collaborative law. Both can allow you to agree on a settlement voluntarily. This will typically save you time and money compared to relying on court proceedings to achieve a financial settlement.

Using mediation for a divorce settlement

Mediation involves an impartial mediator, who works with the couple to help them identify and resolve financial issues collaboratively. If you’re committed to working through your issues constructively and without conflict, using mediation to agree on finances can help you find a settlement that you both consider to be fair, balanced and reasonable.

The first step in financial mediation is for you both to compile a detailed list of assets, liabilities, income and expenditures. This should include your home and any other property you own, the value of your pensions and any savings, investments or debts.

It’s important that your financial disclosure is full, honest and frank. Taking advice from a specialist divorce solicitor alongside mediation is essential to sense-check your negotiations as you go. You may also need advice from a financial adviser, a pension adviser, a mortgage advisor or a property expert.

With the support of your mediator, you are encouraged to speak openly and constructively about finding a workable solution. The aim is to formulate and develop ideas and proposals, looking at whether these are achievable. You’ll also need to consider your options based on what is practical and possible for you both.

Any financial settlement you agree to through mediation will be recorded in a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’. It is a good idea to have your own solicitor review the details of the settlement recorded in this Memorandum of Understanding before taking action to carry out the terms of your agreement.

You will usually need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to find out whether mediation could be right for you before being allowed to apply to a court for help with your divorce financial settlement.

Using collaborative law for a divorce settlement

We are also able to offer collaborative law as an option to resolve the finances. This offers an alternative to mediation for those who wish to avoid court proceedings but have more complex or contentious issues to resolve that they do not feel confident making an agreement about without the support of a lawyer.

Collaborative law involves a series of four-way meetings between you, your former partner and your respective collaborative-trained lawyers. The aim is to negotiate a divorce settlement with the benefit of your own legal advisers on hand to make sure your interests are protected and to help guide you through any more challenging issues involved.

The lawyers who represent you during collaborative law negotiations cannot represent you if your settlement later goes to court. This ensures everyone is fully committed to achieving a positive outcome within the process.

Court-ordered divorce settlements

In some cases, you may need to apply to a court to make a divorce settlement for you. This may be the case if you cannot agree on a divorce settlement through negotiation, mediation or collaborative law. In some cases,  these approaches are not appropriate if, for example, there has been domestic abuse, there is a breakdown of trust in the other party, or a particularly complex issue to resolve.

Our divorce and separation solicitors can support you in your application and represent you during any subsequent hearing, helping to ensure you get a fair settlement that provides for your needs and those of your loved ones.

Our divorce settlement fees

The fees involved will depend on the circumstances and the approach taken towards making the financial settlement.

We will be happy to discuss our hourly rates and estimated fees for making a divorce settlement. We can provide you with the information you need to decide how you wish to proceed. To find out more about our divorce settlement fees, please get in touch.

Divorce financial settlement FAQs

There are various factors should be considered when working towards a divorce settlement and that a judge will consider when making a financial settlement for you in a family court.

Key considerations or divorce settlements which include each party’s:

  • Income and earning capacity
  • Financial needs
  • Responsibilities
  • Standard of living while married
  • Contributions to the marriage (both financial and non-financial)
  • Loss of benefits resulting from the divorce (e.g. pension entitlements)
  • And, most importantly, the needs of any children of the family

It is now relatively rare for a divorce settlement to be handled through court proceedings. It is much more normal for couples getting divorced to agree to a settlement voluntarily using non-court-based dispute resolution.

The most common approach is to use family mediation, which is promoted by family courts as the preferred method for achieving divorce settlements and making arrangements for children.

You will usually need to show proof that you have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before being allowed to take your claim for a financial settlement to a family court.

A voluntary settlement agreed through mediation or other non-court-based means will not automatically be legally binding, but it can be made so via a ‘Consent Order’.

You will need to have your solicitor draft a Consent Order, setting out the details of your agreed settlement, then submit your agreement to the court for a judge to approve the Order.

If you wish to apply for a Consent Order, you cannot do so until after your Divorce Conditional Order is issued. Normally we advise delaying an application for the Final Divorce Order (previously Decree Absolute) to end your marriage until after the financial settlement is agreed, in order to avoid losing any rights you might have, for example in relation to pensions.

This will entirely depend on your circumstances, including how complicated your finances are and how amicable the relationship between you and your former partner is.

A significant factor in how long it takes to achieve a financial settlement will be whether you are able to agree a settlement voluntarily or whether court proceedings are required.

Non-court dispute resolution will often be significantly faster than if you need to apply to a court to make a settlement for you.

Pensions are almost always taken into consideration in a divorce settlement, meaning that any pension you or your former partner have built up is likely to be included in the settlement. Pensions that are in payment are also taken into consideration.

Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding under English law, however, they will usually be upheld as long as the prenuptial agreement is correctly prepared and is fair.

You should therefore seek expert legal advice before attempting to reject any prenuptial agreement you signed before your marriage.

However, there are circumstances where a prenuptial agreement may be worth challenging, including where:

  • Your circumstances have changed significantly e.g. you have had children or have received a significant inheritance
  • You believe your spouse may have assets that were not disclosed in the prenup
  • There are other issues with the way the prenup was prepared, meaning it may not be considered valid

For more insights into various issues related to divorce and other areas of family law, please take a look at our blogs.

Our divorce settlement expertise

Our divorce lawyers have decades of experience helping people to find the right divorce settlement. No matter how complex your finances or how challenging your personal circumstances are, we can offer a carefully tailored approach shaped to your goals and concerns.

Our solicitors are accredited by the Law Society for Family Law and Children Law, recognising our expertise in these areas. Our divorce lawyers include Resolution trained collaborative lawyers, allowing us to offer the highest level of skill and expertise for these non-confrontational approaches to divorce.

We also have a Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accredited property law team that can assist with any property issues related to your divorce, including buying and selling property, remortgaging and change of title.

Barcan+Kirby has also been recognised by the Law Society with their Lexcel accreditation reflecting the strength of our client services. We are also independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Speak to our divorce finance lawyers in Bristol today

We support individuals and families across the UK with all aspects of divorce from our offices in Bristol and the surrounding area located in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.

Get in touch with our expert divorce solicitors in Bristol now by calling 0117 325 2929, click here to make an immediate start online or using our online enquiry form.


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