Financial settlement on divorce – what are your options? Divorce lawyer Claudette explains.
What I always say to my clients is the more you can agree between you the better. The better for your ongoing relationship and the better in relation to your legal costs. When a financial agreement is reached during the course of divorce proceedings, your solicitors will advise that a financial consent order is drafted. The financial consent order will outline the agreement that has been reached between you. It is signed by both of you, it is lodged with the Court, it is approved by a Judge and it will become a Court Order.
In terms of ways to reach a financial agreement, you can a) reach an agreement directly between you, you can then engage your solicitor to draft a financial consent order for you. If a client asks me to do that I will still give them advice in relation to the consent order. I will still give them advice as to whether the agreement is workable and enforceable. Secondly you can have full and frank disclosure and this is what we do advise. Full and frank disclosure means that both parties will disclose all of their financial information through their respective solicitors. We will then give advice in relation to your options for settlement, we will negotiate the settlement and then we will draft the financial consent order. Thirdly you can engage in mediation. A mediator is an independent person again they will want full and frank disclosure. They will explore all the avenues and options with the parties and hopefully reach an agreement between them. You will then come back to your lawyer and the financial consent order will be drafted. You can also engage in Arbitration. With Arbitration you will appoint the Arbitrator who sits as a Judge. You can set a timeframe and ask the Arbitrator to define the issues that will be determined and ultimately the Arbitrator will make a decision and an Order will be made. Finally if you can’t reach an agreement between you or you can’t reach an agreement through your solicitors following full and frank disclosure or mediation breaks down you can apply to the Court for financial relief. That’s an application for financial relief. The Court will timetable the matter and ultimately if you can’t reach an agreement during that process a Judge will make a decision and an Order will be made.