insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 68 Nov 2017 - Page 169

LAW ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE WORKING OUT A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT? Sophie Barrett Many people do not know what should happen with their property and finances upon divorce. Here, Sophie Barrett , specialist family lawyer from law firm Cripps, summarises where to start and the most important factors to consider. There is a list of factors set out in law which must be considered in deciding how a married couple’s assets and income should be fairly divided upon divorce. Even if you don’t intend to have a judge decide the outcome for you and your spouse, the following factors set out in law should be considered for any negotiation between you. A child’s welfare must be the first thing considered, and the court must consider all relevant circumstances, in particular: CURRENT AND FORESEEABLE FINANCIAL RESOURCES OF BOTH PARTIES You must each give the other full and frank financial disclosure of your current financial circumstances, to include details of all property assets, bank accounts, business interests etc. The court can also take into account any asset that you or your spouse will have in the short term. CURRENT AND FORESEEABLE FINANCIAL NEEDS OF BOTH PARTIES You need to work out how you are each going to be housed and meet your outgoings. Finding out what mortgage capacity you each have is usually necessary, as is how you can maximise your incomes, both through employment and any benefits. STANDARD OF LIVING ENJOYED DURING THE MARRIAGE The reality is that there is only one pot of money. After a marriage breakdown that pot has to stretch to cover two households rather than one, so it’s rare that the standard of living upon divorce will be the same as it was during the marriage. However, where possible, there should be equality, so that one of you isn’t in a one-bedroom flat while the other is in a four-bedroom house. to the family than the other, he or she could receive a greater share of any assets left over after housing and income needs have been met. PHYSICAL OR MENTAL DISABILITY OF EITHER PARTY If one of you needs more of the matrimonial resources to meet additional costs due to a disability then this will be taken into account. CONDUCT OF EACH PARTY (IF IT IS SO SERIOUS THAT IT WOULD BE UNJUST TO DISREGARD IT) Conduct could include, for example, domestic violence with the effect that you were unable to work. ANY BENEFIT OR VALUE TO EITHER PARTY THAT WILL BE LOST DUE TO THE ENDING OF THE MARRIAGE For example, this could be rights under a widow’s pension, or your right to take on an interest in a property after the spouse had died. Ultimately, the settlement that you reach must be fair and reasonable in all the circumstances of your particular case. If you would like help in determining what a fair and reasonable settlement could look like for you, please call Sophie Barrett on 01892 506249 or email sophie.barrett@cripps.co.uk. Cripps LLP 22 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8AS About Cripps AGES OF THE PARTIES AND LENGTH OF THE MARRIAGE Your ages are relevant in relation to earning capacity and provision for retirement. For example, the older you are, the less potential you have to earn and increase your earning capacity and pension fund. A short marriage may be a good reason for assets not to be divided equally. CURRENT AND FORESEEABLE CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY EACH PARTY TO THE WELFARE OF THE FAMILY, INCLUDING LOOKING AFTER THE HOME AND/OR FAMILY On considering this factor, no discrimination should be made between contributions as financial provider and homemaker/child carer. Potentially, if one spouse has made a significantly greater contribution www.cripps.co.uk @crippslaw Cripps is a key regional law firm serving clients nationally and internationally from offices in Kent and London. Recognised countrywide for both its commercial and private client work, Cripps is listed as a top law firm by eprivateclient. The firm focuses on wealthier families, entrepreneurial businesses and the real estate sector. Find out more at cripps.co.uk This article gives examples and is intended for general guidance only. 169