It is difficult for there to be certainty as to a likely financial settlement on divorce, as the factors to be taken into account can be widely interpreted by the courts. It’s even fair to say that if 5 Judges are presented with the same set of facts, there is a good chance that each would give a different Judgment yet none would be incorrect. The reasoning for this is that the Court’s primary objective is not to attempt parity between what it awards each party, but instead “to meet needs to enable a transition to independence”.
This guidance, released by the Law Commission, centres on one key point; Needs. There is no definition of what constitutes meeting a person’s needs. In the well-publicised case of Christina Estrada from earlier this summer, the Court ruled her needs to be over £60 million! Whilst this is extreme, more common examples are ensuring that both parties’ needs are met in respect of housing, income and retirement.
Both parties are entitled to put forward arguments to state their needs and this will often be the starting point of any negotiations. The Court has wide powers available to ensure such needs are met and therefore, we would always suggest that legal advice is obtained when dealing with any financial settlement.
For more information contact our Skipton Solicitor Andrew Foulds: