Filing for divorce is, for most, a daunting task. Whether children are involved or not, it is an emotional time for you and your partner and so other factors including court proceedings, financial agreements and property agreements can make the process all the more difficult to manage.
If you’ve made the decision to initiate divorce proceedings, the third in our three part guide to prepare you for the process may help.
Financial arrangements and children after a divorce
Irrespective of where the children live, both parents are responsible for financial support post-divorce. You can apply for financial support from your ex-partner, even if the child/children is not in your custody in three ways:
– By family-based agreement
– Through Child Maintenance Service (CMS)
– With a court order
Family-based agreement: Also known as a voluntary agreement, if you and your partner agree (either verbally or in writing) to financial support. The Child Maintenance Option Service will help you understand how to set up a family-based agreement, how much you should pay/be paid, and check you and your ex-partner can meet the arrangement. As mentioned above, it is wise to seek the expertise of a family law solicitor when agreeing financial support . They can also help you write up any agreement to prevent disputes in the future.
Child Maintenance Service (CMS): If your children are living with you, rather than your ex-partner, you have the option of obtaining financial support through the CMS. This is the government child maintenance service and after you have spoken with Child Maintenance Options at http://www.cmoptions.org/, you can apply for the CMS at gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/child-maintenance/overview).
Court Order: If you seek a court order to arrange financial support after divorce, you must first have a meeting with an independent mediator in an attempt to settle out of court. If this is not possible, the court will check the financial situation of both you and your ex-partner before making an order for regular payments or a larger one-off payment. Although there are legal costs involved, it is possible to receive financial support. This may be paid back out of the money/property awarded by court order, also known as statutory charge. A family law solicitor will explain this in full before court action commences.
Property and possessions after a divorce
All property, owned by you and your ex-partner, including property owned before marriage, should be accounted for in court when calculating a financial settlement. If the courts find either party to be hiding ownership of property or possessions, that party will be penalised.
Establishing ownership for joint possessions can be difficult, however there are some guides you can follow:
– A gift from one partner to another means that gift belongs to the person the gift was given to
– Wedding gifts belong to the person whose friend /family member gave the gift
– For possessions bought jointly or for joint use, you and your partners must make an agreement
– The person with whom the children live will be entitled to keep domestic possessions
If an agreement on the above cannot be met, the decision can be taken to court.
Ownership of the marital home after a divorce
Both you and your ex-partner have the right to live in the marital home, irrespective of whether you or both of you own/rent the property. Unless a court orders otherwise, neither of you can make the other leave the home.
Home rights can be made during a marriage break down and can be appointed by the courts. If, for example, the grounds for divorce include unreasonable behaviour in the form of cruelty, a home rights order can ensure safety.
If there is a disagreement about housing, and you need to apply for a court order, you must first have a meeting with an independent mediator in an attempt to settle out of court. Similarly, it is wise to seek the expertise of a family law solicitor to ensure you understand the proceedings.
Backhouse Solicitors are experts in all areas of family law. If you would like further advice or guidance relating to your individual circumstances please contact our legal team today on 01245 893400 and book a FREE 30 minute consultation.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team