Q: Is it possible to sort out the finances of a divorce without going through the courts to keep things on a more amicable footing for the sake of the children?
A: You can agree a financial settlement between parties with the help of a divorce solicitor and without having to attend court. The court will however be involved in making an order confirming the terms of the settlement. Generally the financial settlement can be made at any time during the divorce proceedings unless it involves the transfer of property or a lump sum payment from one party to another, in which case the order cannot be made until after the decree nisi has been granted. If no agreement can be reached between the parties and their solicitors the party requiring settlement must apply to the court to resolve the issues.
It is worth noting that the court has the power to make financial orders as it sees fit, without having to follow any hard and fast rules. There are however certain considerations it must take into account, in respect of both parties. These include present and future needs, resources and earning capacity, age, length of the marriage and contribution to the family finances. On top of this the court will always give primary consideration to the welfare of any children.
If you do want to avoid settling your finances through the court you and your spouse should each provide your respective solicitors with a list of all your assets, income and liabilities. You will also need to disclose whether you have a current intention to remarry or live with a new partner. Once this is done you will be in a position to try and negotiate a settlement with the help of your solicitor. Reaching agreement this way, rather than through the court, is likely to save you time and money, particularly if your finances are complex.