In the time leading up to and just after the separation, emotions can run very high. Things can seem out of your control and you may be facing many obstacles. The important thing to do at this time is to try to keep everything, financially, as it is. Make sure you do not get into additional debt and make sure that you continue to pay your bills. If possible do not change your banking arrangements just yet, it is always worrying changing banks and setting up new direct debits etc, so try not to do this whilst you are all coming to terms with the divorce. Also changing banking arrangements, without discussing it together, can be viewed as an aggressive act and rile your partner, this may then lead to lawyers being required and legal expenses starting to be accrued. Obviously by keeping as agreeable with each other as possible and changing as little as possible in the early stages the better. Obviously there are exceptions to this, if you feel your partner will deliberately overspend and/or increase any debts you have, then measures will need to be taken.
Money can be very tight after a separation, you may find yourselves facing the very real prospect of running two households, with the same money you used to spend running one. You will need to be very careful with your spending and to be able to discuss this agreeably together will benefit you in the long term. Don't do anything silly, like rent an expensive property or deliberately increase your debt, the courts will take a dim view of this, If you feel like your partner may run up debts then you may need to speak to your bank, credit card supplier and put limits on. Also if your home is in your partners name only, then you may want to consider putting a notice or restriction on it to stop your partner selling, or re-mortgaging it, without your knowledge. Where possible you want to try to keep things amicable when discussing finances.
Once you have sorted out your financial position it will be time to think about the long term future. You will both need to provide 'financial disclosure', this is basically your financial information, things like, income, bills, pensions, assets etc. You can do this informally or formally depending on your circumstances. You can use mediation, collaborative law or divorce lawyers negotiating for you. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family lawyers Guildford Surrey through our combined skill set, in addition to advising on your explicit legal rights, we are able to maximise the opportunity of a successful outcome through understanding the other side’s position and the value they attribute to their financial demands. By understanding the psychology of their financial claims, we are able to achieve early and more favourable settlements and at a lower legal cost for you.
Most couples are happy to disclose their individual finances to each other and will be honest and open about their circumstances. However there are occasions when one partner is tempted to hide assets and not to disclose them for financial gain. They may also try to dispose of assets by transferring them into someone else's name. These are known as 'hidden assets'. The courts have extensive powers in these situations, to ensure that there is full financial disclosure from both parties. If one of you is found to have hidden an asset, or assets, it will be treated very seriously and you can find yourself being penalised in a number of ways – i.e. being awarded a less favourable agreement, or being ordered to pay the other side's legal costs, which can be quite considerable. The courts also have the power to intervene and prevent any transfers taking place and also to obtain the assets back, even after a sale. If your case has already been finalised and at a later date it is discovered that not all the assets were disclosed, the court can re-open the case and make a different order.
If you feel your partner may be hiding assets from you it may be incredibly tempting to open their post, or go searching through their computer. You may have done these things throughout your married life with their consent, but be mindful that now you are divorcing. If you are doing this, without their knowledge and consent, it can be treated as a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted for it. This could result in you receiving a criminal record, a fine, or even face a term in prison! Whilst the family law courts do not want people hiding their assets and will deal with people that do so accordingly, you also have to act within the law to obtain information. We can help you with information on what you may and may not do in this circumstance.
We have extensive knowledge in all areas of Family law and can help you with any questions you may have.
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call.
Please contact us on 01483 826 470