UK Family Law
UK Family Law Questions Answered by Verified Experts
I have been asked to look at this question for you. I apologise for the delay in keeping you waiting but it’s only just been put in front of me.
Are you saying that they both are on £19,000 per year?
Is there a reason that she is petitioning him rather than him petitioning her?
At this early stage I can tell you that she can use the fact that the two of you want to get married as soon as possible to try to get things “agreed” (the wrong word in all probability) to spin things out and to get more favourable financial settlement for her.
Do they have children? How old? What other house, assets, pensions et cetera do they
Although the award of spousal maintenance is not necessarily about equalising incomes, and while she may be entitled to child maintenance if there are dependent children, if they are both earning the same amount of money, it is most unlikely that she would have a claim for spousal maintenance.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
The secret is to apply to court for a financial order before the decree absolute is obtained because the financial order, along with the Decree will draw a line under the divorce finances.
She can’t have access to your money unless you allow her.
If you have a joint bank account then the proceeds would have to be divided and similarly with a house. The biggest factors in deciding what each person gets out of that are the length of the marriage, whether there are any dependent children, and what each in at the beginning and over the period.
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If she won’t sign a financial order by consent, then the court will do it and the order will happen whether she agrees to what’s in it or not.
The process for applying for the financial order is here: https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends/apply-for-a-financial-order
please note the timescales noted under “Deadlines for applying”
Finances are always better apart
You can agree what you like but the courts will not get involved in setting down the order after the absolute is granted if she decides to make a claim in the future if the example you won the lottery or your business was extremely successful
There are various criteria with regard to prenuptial agreements and one of them is that it must be entered into willingly so you cannot “make him sign one”.
A postnuptial agreement is better although there is no guarantee that anyone will sign one after marriage.
Yes, delay the absolute until there is a financial order in place.
If she wants spousal support with a financial agreement, tell her to get lost. In fact, I wouldn’t give her spousal support anyway based upon the financial details you have given me.
The petitioner applies for the decree absolute and can do so once six weeks have passed from nisi.
If the petitioner doesn’t apply for it, the respondent can apply after three months and six weeks.
In each case, the application goes to the other side to sign and they refuse to sign it until there is a financial order.
He needs to get the financial settlement done before the decree absolute.
Otherwise she can always go back to court and hold her hand out for more. For example, she may decide to stop working. Financial order draws a line under everything.
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He needs to make the application for the financial order now. He cannot delay the decree absolute while he thinks about it. The courts do not routinely delay the decree.
Here is an article on the subject.
People do tend to put all the bad things into a divorce petition and to be honest it isn’t needed if it’s based upon unreasonable behaviour. It just needs to be enough to prove that it is not any longer tolerable for this man to live with this woman. (Or vice versa) it is not meant to be a character assassination.
However the court doesn’t apportion blame and it doesn’t matter who divorce is who or why, the financial outcome is the same. He may be tempted to defend part of the petition, particularly if it’s exaggerated but I would caution against that because it wastes time and time is money and it’s not going to achieve anything.
At this stage, he needs to wait for the paperwork and then deal with it. It seems that she is going to drive this and he will need to respond