Firstly, every divorce settlement is different. The individual family circumstances of each couple undergoing separation and divorce will be unique, so it is always advisable to seek expert legal advice when embarking on a divorce financial settlement.
When thinking about whether a financial order or clean break settlement will be suitable in your particular situation, there are a number of important issues to consider.
A clean break settlement means that the parties to the divorce will have no financial ties once the order is agreed or ruled upon by a court. So, it could mean that a family property is sold and pensions are shared so that both parties receive suitable division of the liquidated assets. A clean break order will not include any spousal maintenance.
Where a couple divorce and it is decided that the wife should remain in the family house to bring up children, a clean-break settlement will not be suitable as the house will usually need to be put in trust until such a time as the children have left home and the house can be sold.
A clean break settlement does not mean that the absent parent escapes the requirement to pay child maintenance. Child maintenance payments are required by law and usually paid until the child reaches 16. If the former spouses can agree a child maintenance schedule then this can be included as part of any divorce financial settlement agreement, but if it cannot be agreed or an agreement needs to be enforced then the CSA (Child Support Agency) will need to be consulted.
A financial order is made by the court when a couple cannot agree how to divide their matrimonial wealth and assets. In most cases, the court will seek to give each former spouse the means to financial independence, and, wherever possible, will try to apply the principles of a clean break.
However, in some cases this is not possible and spousal maintenance will need to be set.
It is always best to finalise any divorce financial settlement through a court as a voluntary agreement can leave you vulnerable in the future.
If you and your former spouse have agreed terms for a financial clean break then the divorce solicitors at George Ide can look over the agreement and put it into legal terms before it goes before a judge. We can ensure that the clauses are fair and that your best interests are upheld by the financial agreement.
If you need to go to court to make or defend a financial claim on divorce, our family lawyers in Chichester can be with you every step of the way and we will fight, on your behalf, for the best deal for you and your dependants.
To find out more about financial orders and clean break settlements, please call the George Ide family law teams in Chichester today. We are here to help.