Whilst the world is still in the grips of a global pandemic and with the financial aftermath of coronavirus only now starting to be fully appreciated it is a challenging time to reach a financial settlement. In this blog we look at valuing assets in divorce proceedings and the impact of coronavirus on reaching a financial settlement.
Online Divorce and Financial Settlement Solicitors
Cheshire and Manchester based Evolve Family Law solicitors are working online advising existing and new family law clients. If you need advice about a financial settlement or any other aspect of family law call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form to set up a video conference or telephone appointment.
Assets in divorce proceedings
Prior to looking at the topic of valuing assets, most divorce solicitors are first of all keen to ensure that all the assets that a husband or wife own in their sole name or jointly with their spouse or a third party are listed and disclosed. Supporting paperwork must be provided.
If a husband or wife starts financial settlement court proceedings the court will order them both to complete a document referred to as a ‘’Form E’’. If you are trying to negotiate a financial settlement, without starting financial court proceedings, it can still be useful to complete a Form E. Alternatively your divorce solicitor may prepare an asset schedule and provide that to your husband or wife’s solicitor together with all the relevant documents relating to the assets in the schedule.
Divorce solicitors say that however you provide information about your assets it is essential that you provide full and frank financial disclosure. If you don’t then the likelihood is that any financial settlement negotiations will break down. If your husband or wife finds out about an undisclosed asset after a financial court order has been made your ex-spouse could apply to set aside the court order. They could ask the court to order that you pay their costs and ask that your non-disclosure is reflected in the size of any new financial court award.
Valuing assets in divorce proceedings
In such turbulent financial times you may question how you can value assets given the uncertainty about the housing market and recent falls in the stock market with experts questioning whether listed stock has further to fall. Equally, if you own a family business, for example, a hairdressers or restaurant, you may question what value your business has at this moment in time.
Divorce solicitors say that when it comes to valuing assets if a couple can’t agree on what an asset is worth then they should ideally joint instruct an expert in the relevant field to carry out a valuation, such as:
- A surveyor for property such as the family home or a buy to let portfolio or commercial property owned as part of a family business or held within a pension structure
- An accountant to value non-listed shares or the value of a family business
- A pension actuary to value a pension.
All valuers, whether they are a surveyor or an actuary, will tell you that valuing an asset is more of an art than a science and that valuations can fluctuate.
In the current pandemic with worries about job security and the impact of that on your mortgage capacity it can make negotiating a financial settlement a worrying time.
Whilst there are clearly many uncertainties and challenges ahead of us a specialist divorce solicitor will be able to guide you on:
- The timing of obtaining valuations of assets and if historical valuations should be updated
- The importance of taking financial advice and checking things such as mortgage capacity, size of deposit needed for a house purchase or any revised pension projections for a private pension scheme
- Whether it is best to share risk by dividing each type of asset rather than, for example, one of you keeping all the cash savings and the other getting the equity in the family home or one of you getting the family business and the other keeping the pension and the family home
- Whether you should agree to a clean break financial court order as that type of court order prevents future financial claims for spousal maintenance by a spouse including if, for example, you can’t get a job or you lose your job
- If you should agree to capitalise any future spousal maintenance payments by giving your spouse a cash sum instead of ongoing monthly spousal maintenance payments.
Whether you are at the start of your separation or contemplating starting financial proceedings the important thing is to take expert legal advice from a divorce solicitor who has the experience to guide you on how best to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement. That way you can move on with your life, notwithstanding the changes brought about by Covid-19.
Online Divorce and Financial Settlement Solicitors
Cheshire and Manchester based Evolve Family Law solicitors are working online to negotiate financial settlements and provide representation in divorce and financial proceedings. If you need advice on any aspect of family law call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form to set up a video conference or telephone appointment.