At Onions & Davies Solicitors, our professionals can advise you about all matters ancillary to divorce, including how you are going to divide the assets you have acquired together throughout the marriage, from the family home which may or may not be in joint names, to pensions.

In divorce matters, the main action, as far as the court is concerned, is the application for the decree absolute of divorce. This is therefore regarded as the principal relief given. Alongside the divorce application, there is usually the matter of the finances to be decided and since they are ancillary to the divorce itself, such applications are known as applications for ancillary relief.

Even where the divorce itself is not contested, there may be some dispute over what happens with regard to the finances of the marriage. There are many ways of resolving such disputes and it is vitally important that you receive skilled, experienced advice throughout the process.

Where there are significant matrimonial assets, such as the matrimonial home, savings or a potentially valuable pension, careful consideration should be given as to how the law would expect those assets to be divided. It is not always a case of dividing those assets equally, and the presence of children is usually an important factor. At Onions and Davies solicitors, we have the specialist legal knowledge to advise you as to an appropriate division of the asses in your case, and argue your position concisely with your spouse or their solicitor.

There may also be on-going maintenance to be resolved between the parties. Where there is capital available, one party may be willing to accept a capital sum to take into account any potential maintenance liability on the part of the other. This is known as off-setting, and the principle can also be applied to other assets too.

At Onions and Davies we aim to reduce animosity and concentrate on the factual and legal basis of the matter to achieve the right result, in good time. We will manage your matter efficiently, with an emphasis on keeping costs as low as possible. We will give you clear costs advice, with regular updates that you can keep abreast of your costs with us.

Our objective is to try and achieve for you an out of court settlement by agreement. This not only avoids the often daunting prospect of facing your former spouse at court, but also minimises costs. Where such agreements are reached, they are incorporated into a Consent Order. In order to obtain such an order, knowledge of legal procedures is essential. The order has to be drafted in a particular way, to receive the approval of the Court and it has to be accompanied by certain supporting documentation.

In some case, it is possible to have what is known as a ‘clean break’. A Clean Break Consent Order is designed to provide a way of dividing the assets of the marriage so that neither party has the right to any future claim from each other or each other’s estate. It will set out the terms that have been agreed between the parties and then provide that, subject to the implementation of those terms, the claims of each party against the other shall stand dismissed, once and for all.

We would always recommend that your matrimonial finances are wrapped up on divorce, either by agreement in a Consent Order, or by an Order of the Court. It has been a subject of recent press how the absence of a final order can cause problems in the future, if one spouse decides later to may an application for financial relief, even if you have moved on with another partner, remarried and/or had children. Decree Absolute does not bring to an end your financial ties to each other – only an Order will do that.

We are strong advocates of mediation at Onions and Davies Solicitors. Mediation is now a process that all applicant are obliged to consider, but the fact is that it remains a useful tool to achieve settlements on divorce, reduce the overall costs and any resultant stress. We can refer you to mediation in Shropshire, Cheshire or Staffordshire and shall be happy to advise further about this process.

There are many aspects to ancillary relief matters and depending on the assets and family circumstances involved, the level of complication can vary. Each party will have certain obligations towards the other and the children of the family and also certain rights which need protecting.

At Onions & Davies, we have many years’ experience of advising in divorce cases, sometimes bringing about carefully negotiated amicable agreements and sometimes providing robust arguments in contested cases. Louise Martin - Associate Solicitor in our Family Department - offers a firm but fair approach. As a member of Resolution she follows a code of practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family disputes and will encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family, especially where children are involved.

You can find out more about Resolution by following this web link http://www.resolution.org.uk/

Come and see our family solicitor, Louise Martin, for a no-obligation fixed fee appointment or contact Louise at louise.martin@onionsanddavies.co.uk

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This information refers to the law of England & Wales only, which from time to time changes. In particular, tax information changes annually. It is not a substitute for professional advice, which is up to date and specific to your needs. This information is a summary of the provisions relating to property and finance in divorce matters and cannot cover every aspect of their operation. It represents our understanding of current legislation in England and Wales but should not be relied upon as an authoritative statement of law nor as constituting advice. We would advise that legal advice be sought in every circumstance.