90 seconds with Caroline Mills on… Divorce

With the percentage of marriages ending in divorce slowly rising each year, we thought we would answer common questions around the subject.

couple

Image source: Flickr – Dragunsk Usf

My spouse and I have been considering separating for a while – is there a good time to do it?

Making the decision to separate or divorce is unlikely to be easy. There will be many factors to consider including your relationship with your spouse, your children and your financial circumstances. Whilst it is therefore unlikely to find a ‘good time’ to separate, there may be tax implications if you are seeking to transfer assets outside of the tax year in which you separated. Some may therefore argue that separating as near to 6 April as possible is beneficial in order to give you enough time to plan the separation / transfer of assets inside the tax year!

I am concerned that my spouse will not disclose all of his/her assets, what are the legal obligations?

Each party has a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of their assets to the other. It is usual to provide disclosure by completing a Form E which is used by the Court. Once you have exchanged financial disclosure you should review the paperwork carefully with your solicitor and raise any queries that you may have regarding the same with your spouse.
If you remain concerned that the disclosure is still lacking, that there is reluctance to provide information, or you believe assets have been undervalued or hidden then it may be necessary to instruct a forensic account to review the matter. Your solicitor will advise you whether this is appropriate or proportionate in your case.

What happens with regards to any monies I expect to inherit after my divorce?

In general terms, the finances of the marriage are considered by way of a ‘snap shot’ at the time of the divorce. If the person is not actually in receipt of the inheritance then it may not be quantifiable. The person providing the inheritance may of course decide to change their will at any time. Also, if there is a distant prospect of an inheritance then this is unlikely to be considered directly relevant.

Furthermore, if the parties agree to a ‘clean break’ at the time of the divorce, this usually means that there will be no opportunity to make a claim on the other parties’ assets in the future, provided due process has been followed.