In my experience as a divorce and family law solicitor I find that people often feel embarrassed asking basic legal questions as they feel that they will look stupid. I am asked the same questions time and time again and clients should never feel silly asking as it is important that they understand the basics so that I can do the best job for them.
There does appear to have been a spate of high profile divorce battles in the news recently. The one that has really caught my eye this week is that involving Margie Hanley and estranged husband Michael, and their “titanic” struggle over a holiday home in rural Ireland.
Comedian David Walliams and his ex-wife Lara Stone should be applauded for finally reaching a financial settlement after their divorce. Despite their separation being finalised a year ago, they continued to disagree on the settlement forcing the case into the courts and the spotlight of public scrutiny. However, this week, after the first day of the hearing as the Judge began to analyse submissions, the pair announced they had reached agreement.
Years ago, prenuptial agreements were thought of as only for the rich and famous. There’s a lot of misunderstanding and mystery surrounding them, when really they are appropriate for regular clients that I meet every day.
A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract to set out who will get what in the event of things going wrong. It is a way of protecting assets, like those acquired prior to the marriage, an inheritance or a business. Without a proper prenuptial agreement, the assets can just be thrown into the marital pot with no certainty as to how they would be divided in the event of a split.
A Form E is the compulsory document you are required to fill out if you are making a formal application to the court to sort out financial arrangements during a divorce.
Whilst the form is daunting at first glance, most people are able to tackle it. I always suggest that clients do it in small chunks, rather than trying to complete the whole form in one go.