Divorce & Financial Discolsure – A Complete Guide
When a married couple are going through divorce proceedings it is often the resolution of financial issues that causes the most difficulties.
Almost invariably where there is a divorce of the marriage it is also necessary to separate the financial assets of that marriage. Whereas the divorce procedure is relatively straightforward it is the process of carving up the assets of the marriage that can be more complex, time consuming and expensive. You can learn more about the financial procedure here.
What is financial disclosure in the divorce process?
When considering what the appropriate financial settlement upon a divorce should be, the starting point is for both parties to provide full and frank financial disclosure. It is a requirement, where court proceedings are issued to deal with financial matters, that both parties provide full disclosure but, even where there are no court proceedings, invariably the starting point is for both parties to provide financial disclosure.
It is impossible for a family law solicitor to provide informed and detailed advice to their client as to the appropriate financial settlement without first having had sight of the other parties’ financial disclosure. This makes financial disclosure fundamental to the entire process of assisting a client to reach a satisfactory financial settlement.
What forms are involved in financial disclosure?
The aim of financial disclosure is for both parties to show the full and honest extent of their financial position. This can be done using a Form E which can include information about and including the following;
- 12 months bank statements;
- evidence of income such as payslips, P60s and / or tax returns;
- pension information;
- details of investments, shares and other policies;
- details of all liabilities;
- disclosure of business interests;
- details of any trusts or offshore investments;
- holiday homes both abroad and in the UK
- potential inheritances
Often the starting point is to request such financial disclosure on a voluntary basis. It can, at times, be a good indicator of the other party’s intentions as to whether they provide good quality financial disclosure or prove to be evasive or uncooperative in providing what has been requested.
Can I get divorced without financial disclosure?
The short answer is yes but this is not advisable. On occasion one party will put forward proposals for settlement without having provided full disclosure.
What are the risks of not having financial disclosure?
That situation is akin to being offered a slice of cake and being told what proportion of the total cake the particular slice is. However, without seeing the remaining part of the cake it is impossible to say how big the slice actually is. You may think your partner is being honest about their assets to later find that they had pensions, savings etc that you were unaware of and a slice of which you were potentially entitled.
What do I do if my partner won’t disclose their finances?
Ultimately, where financial disclosure is requested on a voluntary basis and that disclosure is not forthcoming or is incomplete, then this should ring alarm bells. In such cases, court proceedings often follow. Then, if the party continues to be uncooperative in terms of the disclosure the court can impose sanctions on that person in the form of an adverse cost order. In extreme circumstances the non-compliant spouse can also be sent to prison by the court. This indicates the seriousness of non-disclosure of financial assets during divorce proceedings.
Contact Maguire Family Law for ‘family solicitors near me’ and our recommended specialists will be able to give you advice on divorce and financial disclosure.