Most divorcing or separating couples are keen to reach a financial settlement as quickly as possible so they can rebuild their lives and move on. However, even in cases where separating couples are on good terms it is important to remember that getting legal advice at an early stage can ensure that any agreement reached is fair and legally binding.
In a recent case the High Court overturned an agreement which had been reached privately between the husband and wife in a £1.8 million divorce settlement. This was because it later emerged that the husband had not been truthful about his financial situation and in fact had substantial investments which he had not told his wife about.
His wife had not sought legal advice at the time the agreement was reached because she simply wanted to put the relationship behind her and reach a quick settlement. The judge felt that this had put her at a disadvantage in the negotiations. The husband may now have to make a further capital payment to her.
This case demonstrates how legal advice early in a divorce or separation can prevent problems later. It is more cost effective to obtain advice from the outset rather than trying to disentangle an unfair settlement months or years later.
We are one of the largest specialist family departments in the North East and we have Resolution Accredited Specialists in matrimonial and cohabitant finances. When you instruct one of our experienced family law team to handle your financial negotiations, one of our most important tasks will be to obtain financial disclosure from your spouse and examine this carefully to make sure that all assets are being disclosed. This allows you to be sure that any agreement you reach with your spouse is based on the full facts and that it will be legally binding.