Kiteleys Solicitors

Kiteleys Solicitors. 7 St. Stephen's Court, 15-17 St. Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset. BH2 6LA. Telephone 01202 299992.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.

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At Kiteleys we are a team of experienced solicitors, all very enthusiastic about our own specialist areas of the law.

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5th July 2016

Divorce Law Update – Guidance on “Financial Needs”

The Family Justice Council have recently published their Guidance to help family lawyers work out how to meet a families financial needs at the time of a divorce:

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/guidance-on-financial-needs-on-divorce-june-2016-2.pdf

 

However, that 64 page Guidance is primarily intended for judges and legal advisers.

Therefore, Kiteleys Family team hope that this brief summary is easier to understand:

 

  • When a couple divorce and cannot decide how their property, savings/investments, pensions and income should be divided between them, they can ask specially trained family lawyers to help them short this out.
  • There are different ways for family lawyers to help a divorcing couple, which might include working with a mediator or arranging a “roundtable” meeting.

 

  • Asking to a Family Court judge to make a decision is the last resort.

 

  • All family lawyers and judges must apply the law, which states that any decision must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare of any child aged under eighteen.
  • These legal rules allow a broad discretion on how the available family assets should be shared between the divorcing couple. There is no precise way to calculate who should get what. Every case is different.

 

  • As a result, the Guidance is intended to help family lawyers work out the best way for a divorcing couple to move on with their lives separate and apart, with a focus on those cases where the available assets do not exceed the parties’ needs.

 

  • Whilst there is the starting point of equality, needs commonly provide a justification for a departure from the principle of “equal sharing”.
  • “Needs” in most cases, mean the need for housing and also paying a mortgage and domestic bills (aka “income needs”). However, future income needs can also be relevant, such as the need for an income in retirement

 

  • To measure “need”, both parties should produce detailed budgets. “Need” will then be measured by assessing available financial resources and also the standard of living enjoyed during the relationship.
  • Family lawyers will strive to stretch finite resources, but where resources are modest, meeting the children’s needs will usually be given priority.

 

  • A party may be expected to suffer some reduction in their standard of living, if that is necessary in order for both parties to gain independence from each other as part of a “clean break”
  • However, in some cases a complete or immediate “clean break” will not be appropriate if it will cause one party “undue hardship” in the future.

 

If you or someone you know needs to discuss a family law problem in strict confidence, please make contact with a member of Kiteleys Family team via any one of Kiteleys’ offices.

Posted by Mark Kiteley.

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Kiteleys Solicitors. 7 St. Stephen's Court, 15-17 St. Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset. BH2 6LA. Telephone 01202 299992.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.