Financial Issues

If you are married or civil partners

The range of orders that the court has the power to make on the breakdown of your The range of orders that the court has the power to make on the breakdown of your relationship depends upon whether or not you are married/civil partners.

If you are married or civil partners then the courts have very wide discretionary powers to determine issues of finance. They can make orders as to maintenance, and determine how the capital assets of the marriage are to be divided. This includes pensions. In making orders the courts have to take into account many factors, giving first consideration to the needs of any dependent children and ensuring that reasonable needs (most importantly, housing needs) can be met.

We will help you to negotiate a fair financial settlement. An agreement should be converted into a court order to ensure finality. Many orders will be on a “clean break” basis meaning that neither party will be able to seek further financial provision.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 provides very similar remedies to same-sex couples who have registered their partnership. For further information see our page on Civil Partnerships.

What if you are not married or civil partners?

If you are not married or civil partnersbut have been living together with another person then very different legal principles apply. Rather than claiming maintenance for yourself, you can only receive it for the purposes of providing for your children. The courts have limited powers to order payments of lump sums and property settlement, by contrast with the position on a divorce or dissolution. To claim an interest in a property you do not own is difficult, and recourse must be had to property and trust law as the discretionary powers of the divorce court are not available.

If you are living together in an on-going relationship, it may be wise for you to consider drawing up a cohabitation agreement (and/or trust deed) setting out the shares in which you agree that your property is to be held, and perhaps also stating what should happen in the event of your separating. For further details see our page on Living Together.

Considering your Will

Whether or not you are married you should consider making a new Will to ensure that in the event of your death your estate passes to who you want it to pass to. If you are in a pension scheme, you should also consider making a nomination of death in service benefits.

Would you like more information?

For expert assistance of any of these matters telephone us on 01332 293 293 or contact us online and arrange an initial half-hour consultation with one of our solicitors free of charge.

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