Either party to a marriage can apply for financial settlement once divorce proceedings have been filed. Upon submitting the application to the Court a time–table is imposed. This requires full disclosure of each party’s financial situation, and leads to negotiation aimed at settlement. If negotiation fails you proceed to a final hearing in front of a judge who will give a decision. The Court’s decision is binding. The court can impose penalties on uncooperative parties.
Where both parties are in agreement as to division of finances and need to formalise the agreement a Consent Order is submitted to the court. Once sealed by the court it becomes a binding order.
Financial Settlements - Scenario Analysis Example #1
Mrs G left the home last year due to her husband’s alcoholism. The home is in his name and he refuses to co-operate. He works as a Sales Director and has a large pension accumulated from fifteen years with his employer.
Mrs G petitioned for divorce on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. At the same time we filed a financial application. When Mr G failed to make financial disclosure we obtained an Order requiring him to do so in 14 days or risk imprisonment for contempt of Court. It was made clear that if he did not co-operate then the Court would make Orders giving Mrs G her share anyway and if necessary Mrs G would be given power to sell the house and to evict him. Mr G then settled the case.
Financial Settlements - Scenario Analysis Example #2
In 1980 Mr G aged 25 was living with his partner. When she became pregnant he made a Will making her the executor and leaving everything to her. They separated 2 years later. The child is now adult. He re-partnered and had 1 child but the relationship again ended after 2 years. He continued paying his ex partner’s rent rather than go through the Child Support Agency. He met his third partner in 1994 and they had 3 children. He died in 2010. He had never made another Will or revoked the one made in 1980, but he had quite substantial assets by the time of his death. What rights did his ex- partners and 4 children have?
Briefly, Mr G left a huge mess. His ex-partners challenged the Will in the Courts. The dependent children had claims. Did the adult son, who was independent and 28 years old, have a claim? What rights did the mothers have where they were left supporting children under 18? Ultimately a judge had to decide on the balance of fairness between the minor children bearing in mind the available resources. His first partner and adult child did not receive anything. The cost of sorting this out used almost half the estate.The moral is, make a Will!
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