Divorce is never easy or straightforward and one of the most complicated issues is often the financial arrangements that have to be made.
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How a Solicitor Can Help During Divorce
If you can, try to reach an agreement between yourselves. Write down the details and take a copy to your own solicitors to get advice. They can provide you with an independent view of what you have drawn up. Solicitors will make sure it is fair to both parties, that neither party has been pressurised into agreeing, and that it is complete and clear. A solicitor will also ensure that both parties have given a full and frank disclosure of their finances.
A consent order containing the terms of the agreement will be drawn up and both solicitors will sign it. It will then be sent to the local county court, where it will be approved or rejected by a judge.
Things a judge will take into consideration include the needs and welfare of children under 18, the length of the marriage, incomes and earning capacities, standard of living and what both parties have contributed to the marriage, including caring for a family and the home.
Child and Spousal Maintenance Agreements
Arranging financial support for the children in a marriage also needs to be looked at. It can be done as a family-based agreement which is arranged between the parents but this isn't legally binding, so if payments are missed or stopped there's no mechanism for collection or enforcement. You can use the Child Support Agency (CSA) calculator to help you work out a fair amount.
It is possible to go through the CSA, who can calculate the amount due and enforce payments if they are stopped. You can also use a court order, perhaps obtained at the same time as the divorce. This gives the agreement a legal standing and the court can enforce the order. It can be expensive, however, and parents need to have come to an agreement on the amounts and arrangements before getting to court.
Which option you choose will probably be determined by how open your lines of communication are and how civil the break-up is.
It may also be part of your divorce to arrange spousal maintenance, to be paid by the higher-earning former partner. It's designed to cover a potential shortfall between the needs of one partner and their income.
However you decide to come to an agreement about your assets and the maintenance of children and a spouse, a good family law solicitor will be needed to help guide both parties about the all-important financial decisions that have to be made when a couple gets a divorce.
This article was composed and contributed by Zoe, a twenty-something British blogger. She has written this post in collaboration with Hughes Carlisle. Click here for expert advice on all matters of family law.