In times of separation and divorce, it is often instinctive for parties to consider the welfare of the children and their immediate financial needs. Ordinarily, this includes one party leaving the former family home, often with the children, and securing temporary accommodation, addressing child maintenance and income requirements, before taking the time to reflect on the longer term picture.
The detail of the longer term picture can be daunting for many clients, unsure on where to begin, as they consider if they need to sell the family home, how the parties’ pensions will be divided, how the family business is to be valued etc. Separating spouses will also be considering how they can best address these issues after a challenging and emotionally fraught time apart. Perhaps one party would like to mediate on the matter in order to forge a way forward, other spouses will seek to rely on a court led timetable for proceedings.
As committed Resolution members, Hunter & Uro firmly believe that open communication underpins a successful solution to issues revolving around matrimonial finances. For some couples, this can be achieved by direct dialogue, other require formal disclosure (whether voluntary or court ordered), in order to be better appraised of the family finances and consider what represents a fair and reasonable settlement. Our blog on the standard Form E approach to disclosure gives a great insight into how you might best start the process of resolving the long term financial arrangements of the family.
The recent Supreme Court case of Wyatt v Vince  highlights once again the importance of settling matrimonial finances before matters progress out of hand. In this case, the wife to a three year marriage was able to secure a settlement from her former husband, some 18 years after their divorce was finalised, as no financial order was previously concluded. At the time of the marriage and the subsequent divorce, both parties lived very frugally on low incomes and benefits. During the time since the divorce was finalised, the husband had become a multi-millionaire eco-business man. The court allowed the wife to progress an application for financial remedy, seeking a share of his substantial assets in settlement.
The Wyatt case once again demonstrates that whilst it may be challenging emotionally, the potential risks associated with deferring any conclusion to the matrimonial finances comes at a potentially great cost.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss resolving your financial affairs in 2017, contact our solicitors based in our offices serving Bedford and London on 01234 889777 or 0207 177 9777.