One of the issues that often comes in to play is what happens to a pre-existing visit or care pattern? If a child spends every other weekend and one night each week with one parent in term time, does that carry on during the school holidays? It may be clear that it needs to be suspended when one or other parent takes the child away on an actual holiday, but what about those weeks in between when little Johnny is at a holiday club or Grandma comes to stay to help out?
It can be easy to forget that the change the immediate family unit are going through is also being experienced by grandparents. With children often spending their time with one parent at a time after divorce, precious time with their grandparents can be squeezed, leaving everybody feeling like they are missing out.
When looking at how to deal with the claims of any couple on divorce, the court (and a solicitor advising outside of the court process) is governed by section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This lists the matters that the court has to take into account. At the top of the list is the needs of any child under 18 years, followed by the needs of the parties, the resources they each have jointly and separately, their ages, health, the length of the marriage and the standard of living they enjoyed together. The “sharing principle” is not found in this list but is a judicial gloss and a principle that can be quite strictly applied to marital assets.
There are significant differences in how the law deals with property depending on whether you are married or not. If you are not married, the law does not recognise you as a couple and this doesn’t change depending on how long you have lived together or if you have children. So, what are your options?
Unless there is a property or other asset held in joint names, then the starting point is that you have no claims against anything owned by the other party. Nor is there any obligation on one partner from a cohabiting relationship to provide maintenance to the other, although if there are children then all claims for child maintenance remain unaffected.
Pension on Divorce | Financial claims are not extinguished by a Final Divorce Order (formerly a Decree Absolute) and can still be pursued.
It is a quirk of the system that any pension sharing order has to be expressed as a percentage of the fund from which it is being taken. Pension funds are not the same as money in a bank.
The courts are likely to give considerable weight to nuptial agreements, and the weight applied can be influenced by following a few important steps.
If you did not think about pensions when you divorced, particularly if your divorce was after December 2000, you should speak to a lawyer to find out if this was something you should have looked at and whether it would be right for anything to be done about it now …
The initial consultation with our divorce lawyer will cover options for resolving your claims, financial disclosure, potential outcomes, and arrangements for children. The focus is taking control of your future.