Factors the Court considers in Financial Remedy Disputes on Breakdown of Marriage
The parties to a marriage may wish to resolve financial and property issues, in addition to the divorce. If the parties cannot agree between themselves on what should happen and an application is made to the court by either of them, the court will need to decide these issues.
First consideration will be the welfare of any children of the family under the age of eighteen.
The court will then consider the following factors:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of each party to the marriage and of any children of the family;
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each party to the marriage and of any children of the family;
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage and of any children of the family;
- The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- The conduct of each of the parties, if the court is of the opinion that it would be inequitable to disregard it;
- The value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit, such as pension, which will be lost upon the ending of the marriage.
The Court will also consider the educational needs of the children of the family and whether any maintenance paid by one of the parties for a step-child, should continue.
Possible orders available in applications for ancillary relief
Maintenance pending suit – Maintenance before divorce
The need for financial support from a spouse may arise before a final order of divorce is granted. In such circumstances the court can order one spouse to make interim maintenance payments to the other (maintenance pending suit) if this is necessary to satisfy essential needs.
Periodical payments order – Maintenance after divorce
The court may order one spouse to make regular payments to the other, usually on a weekly or monthly basis. A periodical payments order will not be made until the final order of divorce is granted and will terminate if the receiving party remarries.
Lump sum order
The court can order one party to make cash payment to the other (lump sum order). A lump sum order can only be made after decree nisi and may only take effect after the decree absolute is made.
Property adjustment order
The court has a very wide discretion to re-distribute the ownership of property on divorce and possible orders are for transfer from one party to the other, or sale of the property.
Order regarding pensions
There a number of options available to the Court in relation to pensions. The most common is a pension sharing order which divides the existing pension fund, not necessarily equally between the parties. A share of the existing pension is transferred to the other person and will then usually be invested in a new pension for that person.
WRJ Solicitors are able to advise clients on any of the above issues and represent them in court proceedings for financial provision, where necessary.