When considering how to divide your financial arrangements the first step is to ensure that you both have equal knowledge of the financial circumstances of your marriage.
What is financial disclosure?
Financial disclosure is where you and your former partner exchange full information about your respective financial circumstances- both individually and jointly so that you can make financial arrangements for your future. In most circumstances, a Form E is utilised which is a Court form designed to assist you in providing full information about your circumstances – including assets, income and information about your current and future needs and circumstances.
What assets need to be disclosed?
In short, everything. Both parties must be honest when disclosing their financial circumstances and provide full supporting documentation, as this can cause delays and potentially serious issues later with adverse consequences for those found to have been misleading. When disclosing your financial circumstances these include but are not limited to:
- Business accounts
- Credit cards and loans
- Insurance policies
- Bank accounts
- Savings and Investments
- Income and P60s
How do you calculate the financial assets?
The initial disclosure provided can often raise questions and requests for further information which should be answered in full if necessary and proportionate for negotiations to then take place. Sometimes experts are required to determine the valuation of some assets such as values of property, and business assets.
Other experts can be required such as experts to provide reports on tax consequences and often pensions will require expert consideration to report on the true value of the pensions, how to share pensions or if there is to be consideration of off-setting pension assets against, for example, equity in a home. Any experts should ideally be jointly instructed to avoid disputes, and further costs, with each side having their own competing experts. Once the financial circumstances are fully known then proper and substantive negotiations can take place to reach a full financial settlement.
Business assets can often be very complex as not only are those assets often a source of wealth but they are also often a source of current and future income. Any interest in the business must be disclosed and will form part of the overall consideration with the other assets as to how to achieve a fair outcome. Where there are business assets, specialist advice is invaluable at the outset to ensure the right information is provided, or requested, to avoid delays and additional costs if issues come to light later down the line. Specialist family solicitors can work with accountants, tax specialists and other solicitors specialising in other areas of law if required to ensure your case is presented in the best possible way from the start.
Disclaimer: Please note that this page is for guidance only and does not replace legal advice. It is correct with the law at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation – contact us for dedicated help for you.