A common concern about separating is the idea of having to disclose private financial informationtoyour former spouse. This can be even more daunting if you’ve been separated a while and feel asthough you now have the right to a private life. Many clients are often surprised to hear thatdisclosing financial details is a requirement in almost all cases whether you go through the courts,through solicitors or mediate.
It is the disclosure of bank statements (usually 12 months) as well as recent valuations of assets such as property, shares, businesses or pensions. It can be completed voluntarily or ordered through the court process.
There is a formal court-based document that is often used to gather financial disclosure and it is used outside of court proceedings as well.
Full financial disclosure includes property valuations, bank and building society statements, investments, life and endowment policies, loans, pension transfer values, business interests, trusts, income, inheritance, and welfare benefits. While this sounds overwhelming, it is often broken down into manageable sections that can be collated by your solicitor into a comprehensive document.
Once all financial details have been gathered, they are usually shared with your spouse or their solicitor simultaneously by secure email. You will then have access to the same documentation prepared by your partner. The result is that it will give you both a full overview of your finances. This will help you and your solicitor determine what may be a fair financial settlement and aid negotiations/ discussions. If you think your partner has not fully disclosed their assets or hidden assets, there are routes available and your solicitor can discuss those with you in detail. Eventually, the financial agreement will need to be formalised alongside the divorce or dissolution process by way of a court order.
Unless your financial settlement is sealed by the court, the financial claims between you and your spouse will remain open during your lifetime and on your death. A court order is extremely important to enable you to move forward without the risk of future claims from your ex-spouse and to protect your assets in the event of your death.
Would you like to know more?
Please contact one of our expert lawyers in the Family Law sector here. Or contact us directly using our contact form below.