Courts, family law and fair hearings of divorce financial claims

10th March 2015 by


When a marriage or civil-partnership breaks down there will always be a number of important matters to sort out. Family finances are one such issue and divorce financial settlements are often the biggest bone of contention in any dissolution proceeding.

To find out more about all aspects of divorce financial settlement and how Healys’ family lawyers could help you, please click here.

The Law relating to financial settlements

The Act pertaining to divorce law and marriage in England and Wales is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Section 25 of The Act governs the range of Orders a court can make when ruling in financial claim proceedings on divorce.

In October 2000, in the case of White v White, the House of Lords delivered a significant judgment in relation to equality for spouses in divorce financial settlements. The House of Lords recommended that:

  • there should be no discrimination between husband and wife, or their respective roles, in seeking fair settlement.
  • the overriding aim of the court is to deliver a fair result for the parties and the judge must measure his views against the principle of equality. Such ‘equality’ should only be departed from if there is a clear extenuating reason to do so.
  • a partner who does not work, or only works part-time, and otherwise looks after the children and home must be regarded as equally valuable, within the context of the overall family partnership, as the partner who earns the main income.

Further decisions have added to the legal precedent of case law and provide useful guidance for divorce solicitors when advising and representing their clients. However, the tenets of White v White remain the principle notions of equality within divorce financial settlements.

The procedural code of ancillary relief rules

The ancillary relief rules provide the court with a set of overriding objectives which enable the just handling of financial claims within family courts. As far as is practicable, the court must:

  • ensure that the parties end up on an equal financial footing
  • use court time appropriately so as to save expense, whilst taking into account the resources available for other cases
  • deal with each case proportionately in terms of: the amount of wealth involved, the importance of the claim, the complexity of the claim, and the financial status of each party
  • ensure each claim is dealt with in a timely manner and equitably.

Parties to a financial claim on divorce are required to help the court with their full cooperation. The court is required to achieve the overriding objectives via its power under UK family law and its interpretation of the ancillary relief rules.

Do you need legal advice on a divorce financial settlement?

Our solicitors have many years’ experience in family and matrimonial law matters and pride themselves on their high levels of customer satisfaction.

To speak to one of Healys’ divorce solicitors in London or Brighton, please fill in our online callback form by using the button on the left hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your circumstances and possible ways of moving forward with your divorce settlement claim.