Family law solicitor Tamara Glanvill talks Dave Harries from Communicate TV through the process of agreeing a financial settlement when you divorce.
Dave Harries: Tamara, if I were coming to you for advice about a divorce settlement and I was obviously worried about how the assets were going to be split and so on and so forth, what are the sort of questions you would ask me, what is the sort of information you need from me?
Tamara Glanvill: Well, the first thing we need to do is establish what is in the pot, what is in the marital pot. And perhaps sometimes with some clients it is what isn’t in the pot. So the process that we have to go through whether you are going to reach your agreement together, or whether you are going to reach an agreement with the aid of solicitors or even dare I say, if you have to go to Court, there is a process called disclosure which requires us to gather together the financial information of both you and your wife.
Dave Harris: And presumably it is very important that both parties are as honest as possible, and how do you ensure that?
Tamara Glanvill: It is imperative and it does rely to a degree on integrity – if we are not going through the Court process. But most people know more or less what their husband or wife has or hasn’t got and it becomes fairly evident early on if something is being hidden, in which case we may need to consider Court proceedings in order to flush out additional information.
Dave Harries: And, would it be reasonable for me to suppose that I will end up with 50%?
Tamara Glanvill: It is a starting point, but it is very rarely the end point, so we will need to go through a series of questions to identify whether or not that is what a fair settlement would look like.
Dave Harries: And of course, in the media, there is often stories about men feeling that they are being unfairly penalised and that sort of thing, particularly if they don’t look after the children full time and so on, so what is the reality?
Tamara Glanvill: Well, the reality is, as quite succinctly put by one of the Judges at our local Court, if anybody walks out feeling happy with the outcome, then the answer is probably wrong because in more cases they are not. Everything is a compromise, everybody doesn’t get what they think they deserve at the end. It is a question of balancing everybody’s needs.
Dave Harries: So, in the end I suppose it is very important to get specialist legal advice.
Tamara Glanvill: It is really important to get specialist legal advice to make sure that you are looking at the correct factors – a lot of people think that for example, if wife has left husband it disentitles her to various things or vice versa, or if you leave the house it disentitles you to an interest in the house. So putting to bed those sorts of misconceptions and those urban myths is really, really important so that you are basing your decision making on things which are relevant in the Court’s eyes.