Guide to Disclosure of Financial Assets on Divorce
When going through a divorce, regardless of whether this is via solicitors, negotiating directly with your ex-partner, mediation or through the courts, you are obligated to provide a full and frank disclosure of all assets and debts. In this article we look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding financial disclosure. However, this is not comprehensive and should not be taken as legal advice. This area of law includes complex processes and it is recommended that you seek expert legal advice from a family law solicitor.
What is financial disclosure in divorce?
As part of the divorce process, financial disclosure is the completion of documents that clarify your financial position, detailing your current financial earnings outstanding debts, and any assets, along with any supporting documents, acting as proof. Documents provided will be exchanged and reviewed by each person’s divorce solicitor, and if both sides are satisfied that there are no gaps or irregularities in either of the parties’ disclosure statements, your Divorce Solicitor can use the information provided to negotiate a divorce settlement that is fair and reasonable.
What is a consent order?
If you are able to come to an amicable agreement with your ex-partner regarding the division of assets and any financial agreements or obligations, your divorce solicitor can advise and help negotiate a settlement agreement. These can be made legally binding by making an application to the Court for a Consent Order. After reviewing the evidence submitted to ensure that the agreement you have come to is fair and reasonable to each person, the Judge will allow your divorce settlement to be formally recorded in a Consent Order. In exercising its powers, the court has an obligation to consider whether to bring about a ‘clean break’ between the parties as soon as is reasonably possible.
What must be included in financial disclosure?
The financial disclosure statement must include all your financial assets, including any you may have not thought were part of the matrimonial assets. For example, these can include any businesses or investments you have that did not include the involvement of your spouse/partner and must include any property that is in your sole name. Examples of what you should include are:
· Mortgage statements
· Recent valuations of properties
· Wage slips / self-employed earnings
· Bank statements
· Business accounts
· Share certificates
· Insurance policies
· Records of any savings or investments (e.g. ISAs)
· Evidence of inheritance (both previous and pending)
All assets must also be backed up with relevant documentation.
Disputes over Financial Disclosure
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your ex regarding the financial settlement in a divorce, or if you or your divorce solicitor believes there are gaps or false information in your spouse/partner’s disclosure, you can pose questions and even make an application to the court, where a judge will decide on what documents should be disclosed. Each person needs to complete a Form E in which they will be required to provide full details of their financial circumstances. If you or your divorce solicitors suspect that your ex is not being entirely truthful, further investigations may be required and you will need to provide evidence that supports your suspicion that assets are being hidden. Giving false information could be deemed as a criminal offence or contempt of court. Furthermore, if a court order is made based upon incorrect financial disclosure a party can ask the court to reopen the case and make a new order.
In general, 'matrimonial property' (wealth generated during the marriage) may be regarded as warranting an approximately equal division, and “no- matrimonial property” (which is brought into the marriage or created independently after it ceases) may be treated differently. Each case will however be decided on its own merits.
It is important to understand that the courts will very rarely take a party’s conduct into account when deciding how to apportion the assets, except in the most extreme circumstances.
Regardless of your circumstances or how complex you consider your financial situation, you should seek the advice of a family law expert, who will be able to guide you through the processes and find the right solution for you to secure a fair financial settlement in your divorce. At Rose & Rose our expert family solicitors will help you avoid contested financial settlements whenever possible, with our goal to avoid expensive and lengthy court proceedings. However, should court proceedings be unavoidable, we have the experience and expertise to represent you in court.
Please contact us on 0208 974 7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an initial consultation to discuss the best way forward for you and we will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances.
Our experienced and understanding team is here to help you. We will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome.