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Why you must get a financial settlement following a divorce

Finances are more often than not a sore spot for any couple when going through a divorce.

Sorting out money, property, pensions and children can be an even more daunting task when you don’t know where to start or what you’re entitled to.

It’s important to know that in England and Wales, the act of divorce itself doesn’t put an end to the financial relationship between you and your partner.

To separate your finances, you need to reach a financial settlement and turn that into a court order that is different from the divorce itself.

What is a divorce financial settlement?

A divorce financial settlement is a term the court use to describe financial proceedings within a divorce.

In any undefended divorce case, it is the mechanism by which the court can deal with separating assets and finances in what is known as a consent order.

Obtaining a financial settlement when you’re separating from your partner is important because outstanding financial claims may come back to disrupt your lives even years after your divorce has been finalised.

In England and Wales, even when you’re divorced, you still retain the ability to make financial claims against your ex and vice versa, and there’s no time limit for making these.

This is why it’s crucial to put your financial affairs in order and have a binding court order stating what your financial arrangements with your ex-husband or wife are.

These arrangements are covered by the financial court order and can include;

  • Property
  • Money, shares, savings and investments
  • Division of debt and pensions
  • Lump-sum payments
  • Children / spousal maintenance
  • Personal Belongings, e.g. pets, cars

Why you should obtain a financial settlement

To get a financial settlement you need to be at the decree nisi stage of divorce proceedings – so, this can be done during or after the divorce has been finalised.

It’s advisable to do so before your partner or you have remarried as it can become more contentious when new partners enter the picture.

Normally, the divorce takes around five to six months, but delaying your paperwork may prolong the process.

Reaching a financial agreement, however, will depend mostly on what your relationship with your ex-spouse is like and how complex your financial affairs are.

In most cases, you can reach a divorce settlement within the same period as the divorce proceedings.

Once the court has ruled on the settlement, it will be confirmed by a consent order, which is signed and sealed by a Judge to ensure the contents of the agreement are carried out.

Even in the most complicated of cases, most people can reach agreement within months after the divorce has been initiated.

How are assets usually split in a divorce?

The judge has the final decision on how your assets will be split.

The division of assets depends on how long you’ve been married or in a civil partnership for as well as other factors such as:

  • You and your partner’s ages
  • Your ability to earn
  • Property and money
  • Standard of living and living expenses
  • Role in the marriage (e.g. were you the primary breadwinner or the stay-at-home-parent) and so on.

The court strives to decide what the fairest way to divide the assets is, but arrangements regarding the children (in terms of housing and child maintenance) have the highest priority.

We’ve heard about 80/20 and 70/30 splits before, but in our experience, the best way to achieve a fair division of assets is to start with a 50/50 split and work from there to ensure both parties are in agreement.

How much does a financial settlement cost?

This will depend on the complexity of the assets you need to split.

For example, if you have a family-home and maintenance payments to make that would be considered a standard agreement and can cost £299.

Whereas, if you have debts, pension pots and business assets to divide then your agreement would be classed as more complex and would therefore cost more.


Managed Consent Order

  • How Much? £299 Inc VAT
  • Online Service? 100% Online
  • Assets Covered? Money, Property, Maintenance
  • Drafted By? Qualified Solicitors

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Detailed Consent Order

  • How Much? £399 Inc VAT
  • Online Service? 100% Online
  • Assets Covered? Properties, Pensions & More
  • Drafted By? Qualified Solicitors

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Co-op Equalievent Services

  • How Much? £960 – £1200
  • Online Service? No. Traditional Service
  • Assets Covered? Properties, Pensions & More
  • Drafted By? Qualified Solicitors

Which Financial Order Do I Need Tool V2

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Find out which Financial Order you need following a divorce

Be matched with the ideal service by answering a few simple questions.

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Which stage of the divorce proceedings are you at?
I need to obtain a divorce
I'm already divorced
Do you have any assets to split as part of your financial order? E.g. A family home, pensions or personal belongings
Yes
No, just a clean break

Clean Break Order Service - £199

This service is ideal for couples that want to put their financial split into a legally binding financial order, to ensure no claims by either party can be made in the future.

Ending your marriage doesn't end your financial relationship. This means, even if you don't have assets such as property, pensions or savings to split, you still need to obtain a court order.

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • The order is drafted for you within 28-31 working days.

  • Drafted by qualified family law solicitors with 10+ years experience.

  • Everything can be completed online start-to-finish.
Read More Information On This Service - £199

Managed Divorce & Clean Break - £299

This service involves Divorce-Online handling your entire divorce and the making of a binding clean break order at court, which will put your financial agreement into legal effect following a divorce.

Everything can be completed online at your convenience. It's the most affordable and straightforward way to obtain a clean break divorce. At £299 fixed fee it's excellent value for money.

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • Everything is completed online, no time off work or court appearance necessary.

  • Clean break order is drafted by qualified family law solicitors.

  • We handle everything for you, from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.

  • Track the entire process online via a phone, tablet or laptop. Perfect for busy people.
Read More Information On This Service - £299
Have you reached an agreement with your spouse on your financial split?
Yes
No

Legal Advice Consultation - £99 Service

Speak to our family law solicitors to receive professional legal advice to understand your legal position and where you stand in relation to a financial split.

  • Legal advice is given on your legal position
  • 1-hour telephone call with your solicitor
  • Instantly schedule a call in with your solicitor
  • One low-cost fixed-fee payment of £99
Complete Our Secure Checkout To Get Started - £99
Which assets do you need to split as part of your financial agreement? Select options below.
Division/sale of a property
Division/sale of 2 or more properties
Division/split of pensions
Child maintenance agreement
Spousal maintenance
Division of joint debt(s)
Division of savings
Division of investments
Division/sale of a business
Other
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Detailed Consent Order Service - £399

Our Detailed Consent Order Service is ideal for couples that are looking to put all of their assets and finances into a legally binding financial order, to ensure no claims by either party can be made in the future.

Our solicitors will draft the consent order to your individual circumstances and process the order through the courts for you.

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • Division of pensions
  • Property portfolios
  • Division of business assets
  • Sale or transfer of property
  • Personal belongings
  • Lump sum payments
  • Child/spousal maintenance

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • Individually drafted to your circumstances within 31 working days

  • Drafted by qualified family law solicitors with 10+ years experience.

  • We handle everything for you, from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.
Read More Information On This Service - £399

Managed Divorce & Consent Order Service - £499

This service is ideal for couples that want to have their divorce completely handled for them whilst putting their financial split into a legally binding consent order.

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • The sale or transfer of a property
  • Division/split of pensions
  • Division/split of property portfolios
  • Division/split of savings
  • Personal belongings
  • Child/spousal maintenance
  • Lump sum payments
  • Debt provision

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • Everything is completed online, no time off work or court appearance necessary.

  • Drafted by qualified family law solicitors with 10+ years experience.

  • We handle everything for you, from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.
Read More Information On This Service - £499

Managed Consent Order Service - £299

This service involves having our qualified solicitors draft your consent order agreement and file your application with the courts, which will ensure your agreement is made legally binding.

You simply provide us with your financial split information online in your secure account and we do the rest for you!

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • The sale or transfer of a property
  • Personal belongings
  • Child/spousal maintenance
  • Lump sum payments
  • Debt provision

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • Everything is completed online, no time off work or court appearance necessary.

  • Consent order is drafted by qualified family law solicitors.

  • Everything is handled for you from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.
Read More Information On This Service - £299

Managed Divorce & Consent Order Service - £399

This service is ideal for couples that want to have their divorce completely handled for them whilst putting their financial split into a legally binding consent order.

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • The sale or transfer of a property
  • Personal belongings
  • Child/spousal maintenance
  • Lump sum payments
  • Debt provision

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

  • Everything is completed online, no time off work or court appearance necessary.

  • Drafted by qualified family law solicitors with 10+ years experience.

  • We handle everything for you, from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.
Read More Information On This Service - £399

Financial Settlement FAQs, Answered.

Can I sort my finances out after the Decree Absolute?

A financial consent order can be filed after the decree absolute, however, it is advisable to delay applying for the decree absolute if the consent order application is still in progress and not yet approved.

Does spousal behaviour affect the financial settlement?

The grounds for divorce you use to obtain a divorce have no bearing on your financial settlement.

The agreement you come to regarding your finances should be based on fairness, length of marriage, earning potential and children amongst other things. It shouldn’t involve your reason for wanting to end the marriage.

Are there time limits for finalising a financial settlement?

In divorce, there are no time limits for finalising a financial settlement, however, we advise that you get one in place before the divorce proceedings have been finalised.

To get a financial order in place, both parties would need to be in agreement and a full financial disclosure would need to be given as of the date you go through with one.

Once the divorce has been finalised, parties tend to cut communication with each other, making it harder for you both to be in agreement.

If relations stay amicable between both parties following a divorce then you can get one at a later date.

How long does it take to obtain a financial settlement?

It’s easier to answer this question compared to the question of how long does a divorce take because there is only one application necessary and you’ll either be at the decree nisi stage of divorce proceedings or be divorced already.

It typically takes anywhere from 6-10 weeks for your financial agreement to be signed and sealed by a Judge. In most cases, you can receive your decree absolute and financial agreement around the same time.

Do you need to go to court for a financial settlement?

In most cases, you won’t be required to visit the court to obtain your financial agreement. If you can agree on the contents of your financial settlement and the agreement is fair then the Judge will grant you the order.

In some cases the Court may ask for written information on how you came to the agreement and ask if both parties understand the contents if the agreement doesn’t seem fair on either party.

Scenario A) Both parties agreeing to a financial settlement

If your relationship with your spouse is amicable, you haven’t been married for long or your financial affairs are not that complicated, in England and Wales both parties can come up with their own agreement.

You can choose to work out the assets, money and property issues yourself without involving a lawyer, regardless of whether you’re divorcing or ending a civil partnership.

Coming to an agreement between you helps avoid going to court and can save you a lot of time and money.

To make the agreement you’ve reached legally binding, however, you need to use the services of a qualified professional; Our Consent Order Service can help you.

If you decide to go down this route, make sure you and your ex-partner agree on child maintenance, which can be done at the same time or separately from the financial settlement.

If you decide to agree to a financial statement, you need to get a solicitor to draft a consent order, which will then be approved by the court.

The financial order states the division of financial assets such as property, money, savings, investments and so on, and can also include clauses for arrangements for child or spouse maintenance.

Scenario B) Applying to the court for a financial settlement if there’s no agreement

Sometimes, even involving a mediator may not solve the issue.

When negotiations are difficult, you and your ex-spouse have a complicated financial situation or your ex-partner refuses to even discuss finances, you may consider applying to the court to get a financial settlement.

If you or your partner own a business, if one is financially dependent on the other or you have dependents (children), if one is against the divorce or dissolution or has a medical problem or disability that affects their ability to earn an income, or one has significantly more assets than the other, this may be a sign that you’re better off applying for a financial settlement to the court.

In a nutshell, if both parties can’t reach an agreement, they need to go to court and have a judge issue them with a financial court order.

However, you need to show to the court that you have attended a mediation meeting (unless there has been domestic abuse or social services are involved in which case you can go straight to court).

The deadlines for applying for a financial order are the same: before applying for the final legal document but after you’ve started the paperwork to divorce or end your civil partnership.

The financial settlement can cover any financial issues such as lump-sum payments, property ownership, regular maintenance payments to help with living expenses or children, or a share of your partner’s pension payments.

To apply for a financial order to the court, you will need to send two copies of the form to the court dealing with your paperwork (but keep one copy for yourself).

The application itself costs £255 and you may need to attend several court appointments and court hearings.

How quickly the financial settlement is issued depends on a variety of factors but it could take anywhere between 6 and 12 months.

divorce settlement process example

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