If your marriage or civil partnership breaks down, you will need advice about finances including the future of the family home, other assets and pensions and payments for any children of the family.

You do not have to go to court to reach an agreement, although it is important to understand that if you can’t reach an agreement, the court has very extensive powers to make orders relating to the parties’ income and property. It can order the transfer of any property owned by the parties, including the family home, and award money in the form of a lump sum or periodical payments to a spouse and children. These orders are collectively known as financial orders.

The vast majority of cases are settled by agreement between the parties, following negotiations between solicitors or the partners attending mediation. We would always advise, for reasons of certainty and enforcement, to draft an agreement as an order of the court. If the court approves the agreement, it becomes a Consent Order.

If an agreement cannot be reached, an application will need to be made to court. The procedure will then involve the exchange of detailed statements of means and investigation of the parties’ financial position. Eventually, if the parties fail to reach an agreement, a Judge will decide the case.

We are highly experienced in dealing with these issues and our family law team will be able to help you by advising what is a fair and reasonable agreement, once they have considered your financial position in detail.