Welcome to our FAQ page, a dedicated space created to answer your most pressing questions about divorce proceedings.
With topics ranging from the legal process, costs, and various options available to you, we aim to provide clarity in what can be a complex and emotionally charged time.
This resource is designed to help you understand the intricacies of divorce law, empowering you to make informed decisions. Whether you’re at the start of this journey or midway through, we’re here to offer insight and guidance.
How does the court decide who gets what in a divorce finance case?
This is a complex matter and the court must consider all of the issues in section 25 of the matrimonial causes act. But the courts will generally start from considering the point of equality of division of marital assets, and how that works out to fulfil the needs of each person. And the court has an obligation to put the needs of any children first.
What are marital assets?
The assets that either or both parties have accumulated by their efforts during the course of the marriage.
What happens to inherited money?
This is not included in marital assets in the first instance, but must be revealed in disclosure as a resource available. If there are sufficient marital assets to fulfil all the needs of the parties, then inherited assets may not be taken into account and therefore retained by the inheriting party. However if the inherited monies have clearly been absorbed into the family finances, for example by being used for a family home, or being used for an income resource, then they are likely to be included in the division particularly after a long marriage.
Will the party who earned most or all of the money during the marriage receive more in a settlement?
No. All assets acquired and income earned by the efforts of either or both party during the course of the marriage are regarded as joint marital assets, and the court will not do an exercise in calculating the income contributions of each party over the course of the relationship.
Does it make a difference if one party has started a new relationship living with someone else?
Generally, no. Unless they have clear evidence of intention to marry, the relationship with the third party gives them no security of assets or income and therefore will not be taken into account.
What is the position of a common law wife?
There is no such thing! No rights are automatically acquired by living together, contrary to popular belief.
How long will my divorce finance dispute take?
Impossible to predict without examination of the finances of the marriage, and an indication of the attitude of your partner. The vast majority of cases settle by agreement, but this may be after some court proceedings to establish a clear picture of the assets or income, reports from experts on valuations or division of pensions, and an indication from the court at a financial dispute resolution hearing as to what a reasonable settlement might be.
What is the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing?
This is the second hearing in the court process after disclosure of finances (First Appointment) and hopefully all expert reports are completed. The hearing is without prejudice, and the intention is to assist the parties to try to come to an agreement, the court giving an indication as to the probable result of a trial, for consideration by the parties if they cannot come to an agreement on the day. The judge cannot make an order save by agreement, and the same judge will not hear a subsequent trial. Most contested cases settle at or around the FDR.
Do you have to have a financial order on divorce?
Without a financial order, each party may have a claim against the other indefinitely. So you might find a claim being made against you years later when your financial position has hugely improved!
Why make an application on finances in divorce if you hope to come to an agreement?
The court sets a timetable so that there are no unnecessary delays. If it is not possible to mediate a settlement, we recommend making an application to use the court time limits constructively in negotiation. In most cases, this leads to a settlement which is filed at court as a consent order, and that will terminate the court involvement.
Do you have to go to court for a consent order on a financial agreement?
Application for a consent order for finances in divorce are dealt with by paper submissions. There is no need to actually attend a court hearing.