Divorce and Finance

Navigating the financial aspects of a relationship breakdown requires expertise and a keen understanding of the nuances involved.

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Guiding you through all aspects of divorce and finance

Choosing the right lawyer to deal with your divorce and associated financial matters can have a positive impact for the rest of your life. Our specialised team of lawyers is experienced in guiding individuals through the complexities of divorce and focusing on key financial aspects such as pensions, property, nuptial agreements, businesses and maintenance.

When it comes to safeguarding your financial interests, our team is dedicated to providing tailored solutions that address the unique circumstances of your situation and your objectives.

Whether you require advice on securing your financial future through prenuptial agreements, addressing the division of assets, including pensions and properties, or negotiating spousal maintenance, our experienced lawyers are here to assist.

Recognising the individuality of each situation, we prioritise building trust as a cornerstone of our client relationships. We take the time to understand the specific details of your financial landscape and the outcomes you seek, drawing upon our knowledge and expertise to craft a solutions-focused approach that aligns with your goals.


In divorce context, property can mean lots of different things, not just the family home.

When looking at solutions to divide property following separation, your lawyer will want to know about any property that you have. This includes, amongst other things,  any houses or homes, whether in this country elsewhere, any cash, lump sums, savings, investments, bonds, businesses and personal belongings.

These are all relevant when your lawyer is thinking about how assets can be divided and a strategy to ensure that the outcome is fair and in line with the relevant laws, as well as your objectives.


Pensions are a really hot topic in family law and are assets that are often overlooked. It is possible, following a separation, for orders to be made against pensions and, because of this, your lawyer will talk to you about what you know of your spouse’s pension assets and your own.

We may ask for evidence of pensions to be able to advise you further.

It might be that you decide not to make a claim on pensions and, if that is the case, there are other options to consider, including offsetting the value of your spouse’s pension against other assets.

It is likely that your lawyer will advise for the need to instruct a pensions expert to ensure that the value of pensions is properly considered, and so that we can advise you as to your options in dealing with pensions. 

Prenuptial agreements

Pre-nuptial agreements are designed to set out what a couple agree should happen if they divorce. These agreements are signed before they even marry.

Where a couple understand the implications of the agreement that they are entering into, agree terms that are fair and sign the agreement freely, there is the opportunity of protecting assets that are being brought to a marriage or those that are gifted or inherited throughout the course of the marriage.

When it comes to safeguarding those financial interests, our team is very experienced and draft bespoke agreements to reflect the circumstances of the couple and their aims and objectives.

It is helpful for us to be aware of the discussions around pre-nuptial agreements as early as possible before the marriage, though between 8 and 12 months is the ideal time to start having those conversations with your lawyer.

While pre-nuptial agreements are currently not binding in England and Wales, they are a factor which are considered by matrimonial courts and are regularly upheld where the needs of both parties and children have been met.

Postnuptial agreements

Post-nuptial agreements can be a delicate subject, and our team is very experienced in supporting couples during those conversations.

Often, the need for a post-nuptial agreement follows a change in circumstances during the marriage, such as the sale of a business or receipt of inheritance, and where the parties agree that that asset should be retained for the benefit of future generations of a bloodline.

The purpose behind the post-nuptial agreement is the same as for prenuptial agreements, but the discussions can be slightly more nuanced, given that they are entered into following a period of marriage.

Our team deals with post-nuptial agreements in a sensitive, commercial and practical way, always being aware of the existing relationship between parties.

"Higgs LLP works to the highest standard, working collaboratively with its clients, ensuring that they understand every step of the process. Providing timely and measured advice. The team is very client focused. The team is tactically astute and gives great levels of service. The team will fight the difficult cases"

Legal 500

"Excellent empathy during my divorce. Phil Barnsley was very companionate, knowledgeable and provided the relevant information so that I could make an informed choice. I will never forget how they got me through the most difficult part of my life it was like a therapeutic process"

Legal 500

"Sioned Fitt has a uniquely insightful knowledge of her clients and the difficulties that they and their families / loved ones are facing. Sioned works tirelessly, with great care and patience to provide her clients with the support that they need"

Legal 500

Freezing orders

Sometimes, there is concern following a separation about assets being moved, hidden or used to stop the financial claims of one of the spouses.

When this happens, it is possible to apply to the Court for a Freezing Order to preserve the assets.

If you have concerns over assets being dissipated or hidden, it is really important to take advice as soon as possible as, usually, action needs to be taken very quickly to avoid unwanted behaviour.

Spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is payment by one spouse to the other as part of their income to meet the needs of the applicant. Usually, this is because there is a significant difference of the respective income positions of a couple, and that one person needs financial support.

Spousal maintenance is referred to as interim periodical payments or maintenance pending suit when the maintenance is being paid pending resolution of wider financial matters or periodical payments when they are part of a longer term payment plan as part of an overall financial settlement.

There is no hard and fast rule about the amount of spousal maintenance that should be paid, nor the duration that it should be paid for. Because of that, it is important to take advice about whether a spousal maintenance claim is worth pursuing, as it is not always straightforward.

It is also possible to capitalise spousal maintenance where there is enough capital (property) to do so. This can provide the recipient with the ability to invest capital to produce an income which is then within their control and not at the behest of the paying spouse.

Spousal maintenance is for the benefit of the spouse, not for the children, which is dealt with in another section.

Why choose us as your divorce lawyers

Understanding the distinctive nature of each relationship, we prioritise building trust as an integral part of our client relationships. Taking the time to comprehend the unique aspects of your family dynamics and your desired outcomes, we leverage our expertise to craft a solutions-oriented approach that aligns with your goals.

All our family lawyers are proud members of Resolution, an organisation dedicated to promoting a constructive approach to family issues that considers the holistic needs of the entire family unit.

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In an infinite number of ways!

There is no one right way to divide assets following a divorce, and our lawyers will talk to you about your aims and objectives, giving clear guidance about whether they are achievable and what compromises may need to be made to get you to the position you want to be in.

The law regulating how assets are divided in divorce is Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, and this sets out numerous factors which need to be considered when weighing up how to divide assets. These include things like the needs of children under the age of 18, the ages of the parties, the resources of the parties, their health etc.

A list of these factors can be found here https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/18

Our team will consider the parameters of what outcomes are fair when considering your circumstances and your assets and resources. We look to negotiate the outcome of splitting the finances with you, being clear about the likelihood of success of your strategy if we were in court proceedings.

If parties are unable to reach an agreement about the split of finances, it may be necessary to engage in court proceedings. There are usually at least two hearings designed to bring parties to a position where they can reach an agreement themselves. If that is not possible, a final hearing is listed and this is a hearing when a Judge will decide as to what the split of finances should be, and this Order is binding upon the parties.

Matrimonial assets are those that are acquired by the work of one or both parties during the marriage. The term also usually includes the family home, regardless of how or when it was acquired or by which party.

This can be really difficult and the answer is not straight forward. Generally, we would ask questions to try to work out the truth of the assets, but if a spouse keeps being evasive, Court proceedings may be necessary.

When the Court becomes involved, the first Order made is for the disclosure of all financial resources using a Form E. Both parties are asked to provide financial disclosure that is full, frank and clear i.e. that giving information is not enough, the financial landscape must be clear.

Sometimes, even this order is not enough and if a spouse continues to be dishonest, a Court might have to judge the honesty of the information they have.

This depends on the individuals involved.

Sometimes people come to us with agreements that they have already negotiated. If that is the case, this can be formalised in a Financial Consent Order. This is an Order filed alongside the divorce proceedings, after Conditional Order has been made. If that is the case, this can be around 6 months.

If we have to go through financial disclosure and negotiate a settlement, this can take longer, generally somewhere between 6 and 12 months.

If Court proceedings are necessary, but a settlement can be negotiated, generally this can take between 9 to 18 months.

If an agreement cannot be reached by negotiation and the Court makes an Order that is being in on the parties at a Final Hearing this is likely to take between 18 and 24 months, but this depends on the Court.

Pensions should always be considered in a divorce, though it is not certain that a claim should be made.

It is important to take advice about pensions on divorce.

Spousal maintenance may be paid to ensure that there is a fair outcome on divorce. Sometimes there is a need to pay spousal maintenance because one party cannot meet their outgoings without ongoing financial support.

In other cases, spousal maintenance is paid as a form of compensation because one spouse has sacrificed their earning potential because of the functions carries out by each party during the marriage leaving them unable to meet their own needs after he marriage. More rarely, spousal maintenance might be paid because it is fair to share in the income generated through the marriage.

If a financial clean break can be made, the Court has a duty to provide one as soon as possible following the end of the marriage, so often we see that there is either no spousal periodical payments order, or that the payments might be limited to a term.

Divorce only deals with the change to marital status. Alongside this, there are financial claims that both spouses can make for the assets to be divided fairly.

If there is no financial settlement which is approved by the Court and made into an Order, the financial claims of both parties live on, even after the divorce has finished.

It isn’t always necessary to “split” the business so before considering how to deal with the business, your lawyer needs to know about the business through the financial disclosure exercise.

Sometimes, it is necessary to instruct an accountant to value the business and to confirm whether there is any liquidity within the business.

Follow this link to an article by PXB about dealing with business assets on divorce – dig this out.