When you are in a relationship, particularly a long term relationship in which you area cohabiting with your partner, finances can be mingled even if you do not choose to marry. This means that when that relationship breaks down there are often issues that arise alongside the separation itself.
Couples need to decide what should happen with their assets and here at Scott Rowe our dedicated family law solicitor is happy to assist. Wherever possible, we will endeavour to keep the stress and time involved in resolving issues relating to finances to a minimum. Where it is appropriate, we will always encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution to assist a separating couple to reach an agreement in a calm environment outside a court. Doing so can save both time and money.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
We will encourage our clients to consider engaging in a mediation process to try and agree issues relating to finances, or at least narrow those issues which are in dispute. We have a close working relationship with a number of local mediation services and are able to assist in referrals for our clients and to support them through the medication process with the necessary legal advice and guidance.
If mediation is unsuccessful or inappropriate in some way, we will endeavour to resolve matters through negotiation rather than the court process. We can correspond with a client’s ex-partner or their solicitor, in an attempt to reach an agreement as to what should be done with key assets, such as the family home. We will offer our clients support and advice as we negotiate to ensure that any agreement reached is one that is appropriate and will achieve a good outcome for them.
If, despite everyone’s best efforts, there are matters that cannot be agreed relating to finances, we encourage our clients to consider whether arbitration is a better option for them than litigation. Arbitration is a service whereby a trained arbitrator determines issues and disputes between parties and reaches a binding decision. It is a voluntary process which can be quicker, cheaper and less stressful that court proceedings.
If a couple have been co-habiting then the most significant area of dispute in respect of financial matters is likely to be in respect of the home. Issues can arise where one party feels that they have made a greater contribution to a jointly owned property or, perhaps more significantly, where the property a couple have been living in is owned in only one person’s name.
We can assist and advise clients in considering if and how someone may have become entitled to a share in a property in respect of which they are not a registered owner.
There are circumstances in which a separating couple are unable to reach an agreement in respect of financial matters and there is a basis for an application to the Court. We can advise whether or not there is a basis for such an application and assist in either making, or responding to, an application to the Court. Our experienced family law solicitor is able to work closely with out litigation team to advise on how best to proceed.
Where there are Court proceedings we can represent our clients at court or instruct a barrister to do so when that is the best option for our clients. We are happy to discuss with our clients, as and when it is appropriate to instruct counsel and we have a good working relationship with a number of local barristers’ chambers to ensure that we always instruct the best barrister for our client.
Arrangements for children
Deciding what should happen to any children you and your partner have together is often one of the most contentious issues. The emphasis always needs to be on the wellbeing of your children, while protecting your right to a meaningful relationship with them.
We can help you explore your options and negotiate a solution amicably with your ex-partner, wherever possible, or support you in taking court action where required.