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Separation of finances and property in a divorce

This is one area that often causes the most worry and stress as when two people separate they will also need to separate the family financially. 

In our experience both parties to a dissolution usually feel 'hard done by' during the matrimonial break-up. The main reason for this is that when living together you each view everything you own together as 'yours'.

When the break-up happens chances are that about half of those possessions are going to be retained by your spouse. So on the face of it you've lost half of 'your' possessions.

This page sets out the main things that need to be sorted out when a couple separate

Your personal possessions

It's always a good idea to try and agree as much as possible between yourselves in terms of your personal possessions. You will probably end up using solicitors at some stage in the future but the more you can agree face to face the less you will spend in legal fees.

Your home - Owned property

If you have a joint mortgage, it's a good idea to speak to the mortgage company at an early stage to let them know what is happening. You aren't the first people in the world to split up and they should be used to dealing with this.

Going forward there are a number of different ways you can handle joint property:-
- Carry on paying the mortgage together. Presuming that you are living apart this tends to only make sense when (for example) the children are still living there and it's a good way to keep some stability in their lives
- One person buy the other person out - by transferring the property into one person's name. This depends on the ability of one person to support the mortgage payments on their own, as well as agreeing the amount to be paid to the other person for their share
- Selling the property and paying off the mortgage (which still leaves the problem for each of you of finding somewhere new to live but it is sometimes the only option)
- Paying off the mortgage (this obviously depends on whether or not you have the money to do so)

Before you take any decision on the property it is important to find out how much it is worth - most estate agents will come and value your property for sale for free (on the basis that they'd like to sell it for you later)

Rented property

If you're renting your home jointly and one of you is moving out you need to get in touch with the Landlord to see if you can change the tenancy agreement and put the tenancy into the other person's sole name.

Joint accounts

Any joint savings accounts or bank you may have wil need to be split - either to share the money in them or to agree how any overdraft is going to be paid off. It's always a good idea to talk to you bank or building society as soon as possible - problems tend to occur when they are kept in the dark and the first the bank know about it is when payments are not made. Keeping them in the picture avoids this and they will obviously be able to sort out whatever transfers are needed or set up new accounts.

Pensions, savings and debt

Before advising you properly on what you shold be entitled to we will need to get full details of all the assets that you and your spouse have - either jointly os just in one person's name. This includes things like pensoins (which can be worth a lot of money ), life insurance policies, assurance policies or health insurance policies. It should also take into account all your debt.

Every one is different

As you can see from the paragraphs above there are potentially a massive number of different factors that need to be taken into account including:-
- The income and earning capacity of each party
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities if each party
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Any physical or mental disability
- Contributions made by either party
- The conduct of both parties

When acting on your behalf we will try and reach some sort of agreement between yourself and your spouse and then get the court to agree to this ( a consent order) - if this is not possible then it will have to go to court for the court to decide. There are a number of orders that can be made such as:-
  - Property adjustment order - this will determine what will happen to any property, namely the family home
  - Lump sum order - this will confirm how any capital assets should be divided
  - Pension order - this can equalise the two different sized pensions between the parties (if applicable)
  - Income/maintenance order - if it is appropriate for one party yo be paying the other party maintenance

We will help you with all your questions, give you peace of mind and ensure that your case is dealt with efficiently and quickly.  For more information please contact our family department or call us on 01623 45 11 11.

We offer a first 30 minute FREE consultation and 8:30am and 5pm appointment times.