Following the breakdown of a marriage there is usually a number of financial issues to be resolved in family law.
If child maintenance is not agreed on a voluntary basis either parent may apply to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division (formerly CSA) for an assessment. The general rates of maintenance are 15% of net income for one child, 20% for two children and 25% for three or more children. There are certain deductions which can be made, particularly where the children are regularly enjoying overnight contact with the paying parent.
There is no strict formula in family law for assessing spousal maintenance and whether any such maintenance is payable following separation will depend on the disparity of income of both parties and their needs. It is normally assessed by looking at both parties’ income and expenditure. In the event that this maintenance cannot be agreed then the Courts would have jurisdiction to make a Maintenance Order.
Where there is a number of financial issues arising following breakdown of the marriage, parties can enter into negotiations through their solicitor with a view to reaching a settlement on an agreed and amicable basis and if possible without recourse to the Courts. If an agreement is reached it will be drawn up into a legally binding document to be signed by both parties and often made an Order of the Court.
Increasingly these agreements are made on a “clean break” basis. That means that they set out what each parties entitlements are to family finances and provide that neither party will have a claim to the other’s finances in the future.
Ancillary Relief Proceedings
In the event that settlement cannot be reached on an agreed basis proceedings may be issued at Court after the Decree Nisi of divorce. These are known as Ancillary Relief Proceedings. Each party will file an Affidavit setting out their financial position and lodge their financial discovery. In the event that settlement is not agreed the Court will hear the matter and make a determination as to the how the family finances should be dealt with.
Our team of family law solicitors are dedicated to providing advices regarding entitlements and liabilities following relationship breakdown, with a view to reaching financial settlement and if settlement is not possible, to obtaining the best result for our clients through the Court system.