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Put animosity aside in divorce cases

View profile for Lucinda McWatt
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Going to court to settle your divorce is not always necessary and our solicitors, whilst ready to fight for you should that be the case, also recommend putting personal animosity aside and agreeing on how assets should be divided.

Clean break Order

We can help you with a consent order to provide for a clean break, the clean break order sets out the financial provisions a couple has to make.

As a specialist divorce and family law solicitor, Lucinda McWatt explains this is one of the most important documents you sign in the divorce process: “The divorce itself does not conclude financial matters, so the right to a financial settlement against your spouse does not end on divorce so you need the right legal advice for a clean break and to make sure you are not left vulnerable to a claim from your spouse in the future.”

Court of Appeal case

In a divorce, things should, and could, be relatively straightforward if personal differences do not come into play but a recent Court of Appeal case showed that sometimes animosity can get out of control and the actual orders themselves become the subject of debate and wrangling.

In this case a wealthy couple went through acrimonious divorce proceedings but then resolved to settle their differences. Their signed consent order agreed to lump sum payments to the wife and money from the sale of the house to be shared equally.

However the house did not sell and the wife continued to live there and that is when things got messy.  The husband served her with notice to vacate, ordered her to pay rent, launched possession proceedings and damages for trespass.

“This was a highly emotive case and things obviously got out of hand,” said divorce and family law solicitor Lucinda McWatt.

An earlier court hearing had ruled in favour of the husband and said the wife lived there as a gratuitous licensee.  This was overturned on appeal but the more senior judge said that although the wife could continue to live at the property until it sold she was in the interim required to pay outgoings on the property, but not rent.

Postnuptial and Prenuptial agreements

If you are considering divorce our family law solicitors recommends having a good look at your finances and getting organised.  There are also other things to take into consideration, such as:

Consider a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement whilst not particularly romantic it can help to secure your assets in the event of separation and divorce.

  • Ensure you seek quality legal advice at the point of separation, instruct someone accredited and experienced.  
  • Consider alternative dispute resolution – a good family law solicitor will consider this with you!
  • Be prepared for your initial appointment with a family law solicitor – know your facts and figures.
  • Think in terms of a resolution – not a fight!

“In this case we can see that bitterness and animosity between the couple led to their resources being used to litigate the matter through two appeals – a salutatory lesson to others,” said Lucinda.

For advice on divorce and matrimonial issues contact our family law solicitors at family@pearsonlegal.co.uk or call 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.