If your marriage has broken down and you’re facing divorce, you may feel upset or worried about what it means for the future. Dealing with a marriage breakdown can be challenging and often uncertain, whatever your reason for separation.
Our experienced and specialist team are here to help you every step of the way. From the start we will guide you through the options to find a way of sensitively ending the relationship that works best; there is no one size fits all.
Understanding the divorce process and your options is the first step; so that you can make informed decisions for the benefit of you and your family as a whole.
Every case is different, but a typical case would follow this route; the divorce and financial settlements are two tracks which run alongside each other. The divorce is an online process which ends the legal contract of your marriage; no formal hearing takes place unless the basis of the divorce, or who should pay the costs, is in dispute.
It is important to note that finances are dealt with separately to the divorce itself. Whilst a divorce can proceed without a financial order ever being made, this is ill-advised and leaves the door open to future financial claims being made. Our expertise in financial matters on divorce is pivotal to dealing with all aspects of your case.
* Court fees are subject to change.
Want to know more about no fault divorce from April 2022? "Delay in No Fault Divorce, But Change is Coming"
Our specialist divorce services
Where needed, you will receive specialist advice on issues such as:
- The divorce process and how to navigate this in a constructive and cost-effective way with a view to minimising a foundation of bitterness
- Addressing any concerns regarding your children and their future living arrangements and throughout the divorce process your children will be the first and foremost consideration
- How best to resolve the financial aspects of your divorce and ensure that you and any dependants are financially secure for the future
- How to achieve a fair financial outcome that secures your business interests for the future
- Protecting your assets and inheritance prospects for the future
- Pensions and divorce
- Business assets and divorce
- Farming and divorce
For business owners, divorce means there’s also a company to maintain and protect. However, your soon-to-be-ex partner may feel they’re entitled to claim a share of your business and its earnings. The right legal advice can help you to reach a fair result that safeguards your business without ceding too much of your personal wealth in order to do so.
Minimising the risk to your business
If you have a share in a business established before your marriage, you’ll need to know how to minimise any claims on it. We can help you to separate your business and marital finances to reduce the chances of your spouse making a successful claim on the business in the future. We can also explore whether there is any benefit in involving your spouse in your business, and if so, the best way to achieve this. Our Wealth Protection expertise is a key step in this process, supported by our expert Corporate team.
If you marriage has already ended, we can advise you on the best way to meet your spouses financial claims while minimising the effect on your farm or business.
Dealing with farming businesses and partnerships on divorce are a complex area of family law.
Here are the common pitfalls and our top tips for preventative steps to take now.
|Passing a farm or asset to an adult child, who later divorces||Talking openly about a pre-nup or post-nup, as part of your succession or tax planning, is crucial. They aren’t seen as romantic but neither is divorce, and so having a clear plan in place when the sun is shining, agreeing how the farm and other wealth would be dealt with, is much easier than when the clouds of separation have descended.|
|Extended family members needing to release their value in the farm/land||There can be many complexities which can be avoided by having a Partnership Agreement in place; this will say who has what, in what proportion, and how it would be valued/released in the future. This can help if many generations share in the business or farm.|
|A failed gift or trust||When coming under scrutiny, well-meaning plans to gift or pass assets to younger generations may simply be ineffective. Not only can doing this well in the first instance (clue; getting legal advice) prevent this, it can save considerable sums in Capital Gains Tax or inheritance tax for you or your estate and mark clear lines when it comes to any future divorce or financial separation.|
|The business supports an adult child or their family||Being aware of the implication of financially assisting an adult child, especially during their own marriage, is hugely important. There can be considerable tax advantages to doing so during your lifetime, but it can set a precedent which a court may take into account and presume would continue (to your adult child) when considering that child’s ability to support their own family on divorce. This can include employment, regular cash gifts or property being transferred; planning and legal advice are key.|
|When you can’t manage your own affairs anymore due to ill health||Having a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) in place is crucial for all adults, not least those with agricultural businesses or wealth to manage; an LPA is a document which sets out who make decisions and practically deal with your financial affairs should you lose capacity to do so, and separately can set out who can make medical decisions for you. Once you have lost capacity, it is too late to get an LPA, so getting advice from a specialist Private Client lawyer (who should talk to you about an LPA as part of your succession and tax planning) is crucial.|
|My son or daughter is getting divorced||Get your own independent advice; in complex or acrimonious case divorces, a third party or trust can become a party to proceedings to ensure their position is protected. Seeking advice early on, and engaging in measured and informed discussions can prevent getting to that stage.|
|I am in a new relationship||
Some couples choose not to marry or re-marry because it prevents the financial rigmarole on divorce. However cohabiting without an agreement in place can be just as complicated, especially if you are both making financial or practical contributions to a property in one persons name. A cohabitation agreement can remove the uncertainty, setting out the clear intentions of you both with regards to how any property is owned, and how is should be shared (if at all) should you separate. Don’t avoid the question or think it isn’t relevant if you’re unmarried – get advice.
Thinking of marriage; then a pre-nup is crucial. Once bitten; twice shy as the old adage goes.