When getting a divorce in England or Wales, you’ll need to be open and honest about your finances to ensure the financial settlement between you and your ex is fair. This is known as providing ‘financial disclosure’.
If a Judge reviews a divorce financial settlement and considers that the agreement is not fair, the agreement is most likely to be rejected by the Court.
Fair and Reasonable Divorce Settlement
The law in England and Wales provides that when a couple divorce, the financial arrangements between them should be fair and reasonable to both people. This applies whether an agreement is reached with or without the help of a Divorce Solicitor.
To make sure that a divorce settlement agreement is fair and reasonable, each person must reveal their financial affairs in full. If one person conceals money or financial assets, he/she could be guilty of a criminal offence, so it’s vital to fully co-operate.
If you’re going through divorce proceedings and you’re using a Divorce Solicitor, or you’re going through Mediation, you’ll need to disclose your finances and have certain documents ready. These include:
- A recent valuation of any property that you own
- Recent mortgage statements of mortgaged properties that you own
- Bank statements for all accounts that you’re named on
- Valuations for savings accounts, stocks and shares
- Business accounts if you’re self-employed
- Valuations of any pension pots you have
- Your wage slips and latest P60, if you’re on the payroll
Once both people have provided full financial disclosure, it will give a clear picture of your financial position, and that of your ex. This allows your Divorce Solicitor to assess what assets you are reasonably entitled to, enabling them to negotiate a divorce financial settlement that protects your interests and the best interests of any children under 18.
If after financial disclosure there is a suspicion that your ex is hiding money or financial assets, your Divorce Solicitor can investigate the matter further. Unfortunately this does happen and is something that our Divorce Solicitors have considerable experience in.
There are a number of steps that can be taken if there’s a concern that your ex is concealing assets. Firstly we will review the documents in detail to see if there are any irregularities. We can then write to your ex’s Solicitor, highlighting our concern that full financial disclosure hasn’t taken place.
If the above steps fail to produce the necessary results, we can get a Court Order that instructs your ex to reveal the true extent of their assets. A failure to comply with this Court Order could result in a Penal Notice being served, warning your ex that he/she could be sent to prison for breaching the Court’s demands.
Help from Divorce Solicitors
If you’re going through a divorce and want help negotiating a financial settlement, our Divorce Solicitors can help you. Using the documents you provide, we can prepare your financial disclosure on your behalf, and negotiate a financial settlement that incorporates the assets you are legally entitled to.
If we believe that your ex is hiding money or other financial assets, we can investigate the matter fully, ensuring you do not lose out on assets that should be included in the negotiations. For more information see Finding Hidden Assets in Divorce.