Property and Money
Helping you through difficult times
When people separate following a relationship breakdown they are often very concerned about practical property and money matters e.g. who is to live in/own the home, who will pay the mortgage/rent, what will happen to other money or property whether owned in joint or sole names, what about pension entitlements and whether one of them should continue to financially support the other and any children.
We at Michael Leighton Jones Solicitors believe that the best way of dealing with any financial and property matters following a separation is initially by way of negotiation. If an agreement that is acceptable to both you and your partner can be reached there will be no need for a contested Court hearing.
If you are divorcing, or dissolving a civil partnership, even if you and your partner are able to agree we would still advise you to obtain a Court Order by consent to reflect that agreement. Otherwise there is always the possibility that, despite your agreement, your former partner could make an application to the Court, at a later time. Once a Court Order is obtained this is, generally speaking, a final Order that cannot be altered.
If, however, an agreement cannot be reached you will need to make an application to the Court for an Order. There are various Orders that the Court is able to make.
We have set out below the procedure that will need to be followed. The information given will hopefully answer some of your queries regarding the financial aspects that arise from a divorce. However, some of the matters referred to may not be relevant to you or your individual circumstances.
Please feel free to book a no obligation free consultation to discuss your needs.
Tel: 01443 830 228
Financial and Property Proceedings: The Process Explained
In order to obtain a Court Order an application must be provided to the Court. When an application is filed the Court will fix a date for a first appointment. This appointment held in front of a District Judge is to ensure that it is clear what the issues are that cannot be agreed.
Before the first appointment each party must provide the Court with a statement setting out their financial position, a summary of issues and, if applicable, a questionnaire and list of documents requesting information which you believe your partner should provide. We would prepare all these documents on your behalf.
At the first appointment the District Judge will decide which questions on the questionnaire will need to be answered and what documents will need to be produced. If necessary, he will also give directions as to the valuation of any assets and will order any other evidence that maybe necessary to be provided within a certain period.
In most cases, the Judge will then arrange for a further appointment to be made which is referred to as a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment (FDR). The purpose of the FDR is so that the separating couple can try to reach an agreement.
If an agreement cannot be reached, then the case will be listed for a final hearing. We will then file with the Court a statement of what you would want the Court to order.
Although we will be there to represent you at all the hearings, unless we advise you otherwise, you must also attend each appointment. Most hearings relating to the financial matters take ½ a day but we will notify you if the case is going to be for a longer period.
It is difficult to be precise about how long this process will take as much will depend upon how complex are the issues and how soon the other person gives full disclosure.
If, after having obtained a divorce but before the financial matters are settled, you are considering remarrying you should speak to us as this could affect your ability to apply to the Court for a financial Order.
The Family Home
When people separate it is not uncommon for one of them to leave the matrimonial home.
There are many misconceptions about the rights husbands and wives have over the family home, for example even when a person leaves the house if they are named on the mortgage or tenancy agreement they are still liable to pay the rent or mortgage.
Many husbands and wives also believe that if they or their partner do not own the property then they are not entitled to remain there. This is not the case and there are various rights that apply to both husbands and wives.
In some cases the Court can make an Order for the transfer of the ownership of the family home into the sole name of one person or make an Order determining who should occupy the property and for how long and when the property should be sold. Such Orders can also be made in respect of tenancies and other properties owned by either party. If, however you are not married your rights are somewhat different. Please see our Cohabitation page for further details.
If you are considering leaving the property we would advise you to contact us to discuss how this may affect you.
Remember our first consultation is free to all.
Contact Sarah Price.
Bargoed tel: 01443 830228.