Divorce and Finances
Helping you get the best settlement in a difficult situation
Sometimes it is a sad reality that marriages irreparably break down. In these instances, divorce can become the only option, bringing with it all kinds of difficult considerations, including children, finances, and property settlements. At A K Gulati, we understand that no-one wants this unpleasant process to be any more difficult than it has to be. Our aim is to help you find the resolution as quickly as possible, bringing the whole affair to a legal and agreeable outcome with the care and experience that the situation demands. We see our clients as human beings and will offer a supportive, sympathetic, environment in which we can resolve all disagreements together.
A Sympathetic and Calm Approach
We specialise in divorce. You may be in England or Wales, or working or resident overseas and need advice from a solicitor on UK family law. Whether your issue or query relates to divorce, financial remedy, pension sharing, residence (or custody) of a child, spousal maintenance (or alimony), we can advise you. We are members of the family law organisation Resolution, and we seek a non-confrontational approach to both divorce and separation proceedings. We are dedicated to working sympathetically, constructively, and as efficiently as possible. We are also members of the Law Society Family Panel and Law Society Children Panel, having been recognised for our extreme competence in the area of family law.
With A K Gulati & Co advising and guiding you, you will be able to move on from your marriage, calm in the knowledge that you did everything possible to achieve the best settlement for yourself and your children whilst doing so in a compassionate yet robust manner. When you choose to instruct A.K. Gulati & Co to handle your divorce you can be confident of our commitment to you and of our competitive, reasonable fees.
You can call us on +44 (0) 208 770 7979 or visit our contact page.
Can You Work This Out Without Us?
More often than not legal advice is required, whether for a problem-free divorce petition, error-free acknowledgement of service, or for a successful and optimal financial settlement which the court will be happy to approve. Given the financial cost of mistakes and the cost of a solicitor redoing the work you have tried to do, it is normally less expensive in the long run, and it will give you more peace of mind, and fewer sleepless nights, if you see a solicitor from the very start.
People do not always like to have to see a solicitor and pour their heart out about their personal affairs. However, a good divorce solicitor will save you money in the long run. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to deal with your solicitor; we know what you are going through.
We can give you a free initial advice over the phone or video link and clarify most of your divorce queries including the issue of legal fees. This means you can get a feel for the solicitor you will be working with and feel more comfortable about the process before committing to using our services. If you would like us to contact you please visit our contact page.
What Will Be Involved?
There are three elements to divorce:
1. The ‘divorce’ itself is the process of terminating your marriage, after which you are free to re-marry if you choose. You must have been married at least a year before you can begin your divorce which will be on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is evidenced by one of either: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion of 2 years, separation of 2 years with the consent of your spouse, or separation of 5 years for which no consent is required. With the recent coming into law of No-Fault Divorce, it is now possible for both parties to divorce without having to adduce any evidence of the blameworthiness of the other party. It is hoped this will remove much of the acrimony of divorce proceedings.
2. Issues concerning children of the marriage, such as residence and contact.
3. How to divide your joint matrimonial financial estate: financial remedy proceedings.
This determines how assets are divided, and it encompasses everything from capital, company shares, and pensions to spousal maintenance. This can be a complicated area on which you will probably need the advice of a solicitor. It is important that you ensure that your former spouse has no further claim on your estate in the future after the divorce process is concluded.
A costly mistake is to assume you are free of your marriage only to discover your former spouse laying claim to a share of your assets years in the future (your inheritance or a successful business).
Divorce can, at times, be aggravating and a strain. It is also a highly technical area of law. However, you should not be fearful or daunted by the prospect of dissolving your marriage if you need to.
Are There Alternatives?
If, perhaps due to religious, ethnic or social reasons, you do not want to pursue a traditional divorce, we are able to prepare a separation agreement for you, or judicial separation proceedings.
When Finances Are Involved
Once the Court has granted a divorce decree (also known as the Decree Nisi), judicial separation or dissolution of a civil partnership, it can make a variety of different orders:
- for periodical payments (or ‘maintenance’) from one party to the other,
- for a lump sum cash payment from one party to the other,
- property transfers, and
- pension sharing orders and pension attachment orders (except in the case of judicial separation)
Ideally, we help separating or divorcing couples to negotiate agreements on financial arrangements, including maintenance, and division of property and other assets, without the need for the court to be involved except in a minimal fashion. We would help you incorporate the agreement into a Deed of Separation. Alternatively, we would file a Consent Order, which would mean you would not need to go to court.
Formulating a Financial Settlement
In order for us to advise you on financial settlement, you and your ex-partner need to identify and value your financial assets, in a process called ‘financial disclosure’.
Once all the financial detail has been gathered in and parties have agreed on asset values, financial advice and negotiation can begin to decide on the division of assets. For example, one party may agree to relinquish company shares or a share in a property, in return for a lump sum given by the other.
If one party has concealed their assets or their true value, to the detriment of the other, then the Court has the power to assist investigations to ascertain the true position.
We can always make an urgent application to the Court for a Freezing Order, should there be the risk of a spouse dissipating an asset or removing it from the jurisdiction. We can act very quickly to safeguard the marriage assets for use in your settlement.
If an agreement cannot be reached, our experts will advise you and negotiate your financial remedy to ensure you preserve a fair share of your matrimonial assets, and we will safeguard your pension rights, whether accrued by you or your spouse, and other interests.
In the absence of an agreement, we can make a Court application for you, for periodical payments including maintenance, lump sum property adjustment orders, and pensions orders. The Court will take into account all the circumstances of the case and ensure your children’s welfare is put first.
If you are getting married or entering a civil partnership, you may like to consider a pre-nuptial agreement, something that is becoming more and more common.
The pre-nuptial agreement sets down how you will divide your assets, should the unthinkable happen in future and you decide to go your separate ways. We can advise you on whether setting up or agreeing to a pre-nuptial agreement is right for you.
Whilst not, strictly speaking, ‘legally binding’ under the law of English & Wales, the Courts do take them into account but not unless:
(1) Both parties made a full and frank disclosure of their financial position
(2) Both parties were free from any pressure to enter into the agreement.
(3) Both parties received independent legal advice before signing the agreement
An agreement should not be entered into any later than 21 days before the marriage or civil partnership is to take place.
Prenuptial agreements have become attractive where there is a considerable disparity in the financial positions of the two parties, or where there is an international element or where one of the parties have previously been married, and where the parties see it as a contingency against future disagreement should the future not work out the way the parties expected.
DISCLAIMER: This is not legal advice. It is intended only to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.