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What will happen to my children and money when I divorce?

Divorce can happen for many reasons and it is often a painful and complicated time throughout which many decisions have to be made.

For lots of people, seeing their children and dealing with family finances after the divorce are the biggest concerns. 

What is a Financial Divorce Settlement?

Just because a marriage has legally ended, it doesn’t mean that the financial relationship between the two people has. 

A Financial Divorce Settlement is an agreement drawn up to fairly divide the finances and assets between a couple once the marriage or civil partnership ends, along with maintenance payments.  Settlements take into consideration the complete circumstances so for example, if one partner gave up work to look after children, their potential financial vulnerability post-divorce will be factored in. 

If no settlement is put in place, it means that in years to come, one of the partners can make a claim to the other’s money, and that partners’ assets will be valued when the claim is made and not the value at the time of the divorce. This means that without a financial divorce settlement, an ex-spouse can lay claim to any inheritance, property and business gains in the future. 

Having a settlement in place gives clarity and certainty to both parties and makes planning for the future more straightforward. 

Once you have come to an agreement, it’s best to speak to a family law solicitor who can draw up a legally binding document, which will be approved by a judge following the decree nisi. 

Will I be able to keep my children after we divorce?

What should happen to the children following a divorce can often be resolved through conversation between the separating couple. Often, the children will remain with the parent who was the primary caregiver before the divorce. 

Depending on the financial agreements, or the financial divorce settlement if there is one in place, the resident parent will usually stay in the family home with the children. The other parent will still have regular contact with the children, and be able to spend time with them including weekends and holidays. 

The non-resident parent may also pay child maintenance to their ex-spouse, which contributes to their children’s care. In some instances, couples choose to share the caregiving responsibilities equally, which is called shared residence.

If the children are old enough to do so, their wishes can, and should, be taken into consideration.

If both parents agree on future plans, making a parenting plan can be useful. While a parenting plan isn’t legally binding, it is helpful to have all major decisions surrounding the children’s upbringing in writing. If you would like to make it legally binding, this can be done through an order from the court. We recommend seeking legal advice if you choose to do this. 

If the parents struggle to reach an agreement, the next step is mediation. Mediators are entirely neutral who won’t tell either party what to do, rather they aid constructive conversation and negotiation. If mediation doesn’t help the couple reach a resolution then a Child Arrangement Order might be needed.  

A Child Arrangement Order states where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent. The agreement is an order drawn up by the Court and is legally binding. The Court will take into consideration all aspects of the circumstances and will prioritise the children’s welfare in the decision making process. A Child Arrangement Order will dictate who the children will live with, how often, when and where the other parent will see the children, and what communication the other parent will have with the children (for example, phone calls and text messages).

Because Child Arrangement Orders are legally binding, if either parent breaches their responsibilities, the other can ask the Court to step in to enforce the Order. 

How can Shaar Bridge help?

We have dedicated family solicitors who can help guide you through the divorce process, and help to ensure that you get the best outcome for you and your family. 

Robina Aslam is an accomplished solicitor who has a wealth of experience in all family related matters. Whilst her specialism lies within family law, she also deals with private client and regulatory matters.

Discover more on Family Law here.