The problem with informal financial arrangements...
Many divorcing couples are able to agree financial arrangements between themselves. This, in principle, is great. Talking sensibly and reasonably about the future and coming to an agreement during times of high emotion is certainly an achievement and it is something we encourage parties to do where possible.
However, there are some pitfalls to doing this without legal advice.
Firstly, it is imperative to obtain legal advice prior to reaching any kind of agreement to ensure that you are adequately protected and all aspects have been considered. We encourage clients to obtain advice alongside discussions with their ex-spouse or mediation to ensure that they are adequately protecting their interests, and are aware of all of the options available to them.
Secondly, without legal advice it is possible to come to an arrangement that is not necessarily the best way of resolving matters, and the agreement could even be logistically impossible, especially without a legally binding order.
Finally, in situations where the parties have not obtained legal advice on their financial arrangement, they often do not realise that the arrangement needs to be approved by a Court to ensure it is legally binding upon the parties. This is imperative for many reasons.
In terms of logistics, pension providers cannot implement any agreement to share a pension without a Court order, and often mortgage providers cannot remove one party from the mortgage without being ordered to do so.
Without a legally binding order reflecting the terms of the agreement, either party could renege on the agreement in future. You might not think this is likely, but we cannot predict the future. A legally binding order dismisses all future claims and ensures certainty and protection for both parties.
Often people are reluctant to involve lawyers as they believe it will cause animosity. This is not necessarily the case. All of the lawyers at Watkins Solicitors are members of Resolution. This means that they use a non-confrontational approach, with the focus being on the outcome for their clients.
How we can help
We offer expert advice on all aspects of financial arrangements following the breakdown of a relationship. Speak to our specialists to ensure your interests are adequately protected prior to reaching any agreement with an ex-partner or spouse.
For further information, please contact Briony Kingston in the Family Law Department on 0117 9350 939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Watkins Solicitors has offices in Southville and Fishponds, Bristol, and Bath City Centre.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.