Research Shows Women Lose Out When They Divorce ‘On The Cheap’

Nov 09, 2023   ·   5 minute read
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As specialist North West family law solicitors we were interested to read the report from the Fair Shares Project.

The Fair Shares project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation. It aims to provide information and data on divorcing couples so lawyers and legislative reformers understand how the current family law system is operating.

Divorce solicitor, Robin Charrot, looks at the key research findings and outlines the options to reach a fair divorce financial settlement.

For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.

The Fair Shares Project research highlights

The Fair Shares Project aimed to discover information about the financial and property arrangements made by divorcing couples. The 5 key statistical takeouts from the report are:

  1. One in 10 couples in England and Wales did not take advice with their divorce
  2. Only 2 out of 5 divorcees made use of family lawyers for advice and support. (That means 60% of divorcees didn’t have the help of a family law solicitor)  
  3. Around a third of divorcees did not know the value of their pension fund. (If they did not know the value of their own pension asset it is unlikely that they discovered the value of their spouse’s pension pot)
  1. Only one in 10 divorcees with a pension fund that was not paying a pension at the time of the financial settlement agreed to a pension-sharing order as part of the divorce financial settlement. (In most families the value of the pension pot of the husband or wife can be the asset with the most significant value. It all depends on the amount of equity in the family home and whether a spouse has a final salary pension).
  1. Only around a third of those getting divorced with assets to share with each other split their assets equally. (The family court starts from the premise that assets should be shared equally unless there are cogent reasons to depart from equality. For example, it may be appropriate that a husband or wife gets less than half if it is a short marriage or where the husband and wife signed a prenuptial agreement before their marriage)

The research information from the Fair Share Project will concern divorce financial settlement solicitors as it appears to show that financial settlements are being made without the benefit of legal advice and that they are not fair and potentially do not meet a spouse’s reasonable needs. It is normally the wife who suffers by not getting expert legal advice or through not obtaining financial disclosure from her husband as statistically the wife is often the financially weaker spouse in comparison to the husband. Often that’s because she is the one working part-time because of childcare responsibilities or the one who took a career break to prioritise the children’s needs.

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How to reach a fair divorce financial settlement

People can be wary of calling a divorce solicitor for a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. Worry about the costs
  2. Concern that a divorce solicitor will suck you into contested financial court proceedings and you would be better off negotiating your own divorce financial settlement

Does it make financial sense to talk to a divorce solicitor?

Would you buy a family home without a survey? Would you rewire your home if you do not have any training as an electrician? If the answer to either of those questions is no then you get the picture. It can be equally dangerous, from a financial point of view, to agree a divorce financial settlement without first taking legal advice.

At Evolve Family Law we offer some fixed-fee services and we are always upfront about costs.

As well as providing a fixed fee no-fault divorce service we also offer a relationship breakdown consultation for a fixed fee to discuss your relationship breakdown and offer guidance.

Our ‘relationship breakdown comprehensive initial review’ is priced at £300 inclusive of VAT and it covers one meeting with a qualified lawyer regarding all the legal and practical aspects of your situation and an assessment of the best routes to resolving your situation.

The consultation fee excludes follow-up work, such as starting no-fault divorce proceedings or writing to your husband or wife to seek financial disclosure or to explore their financial proposals. We can talk to you about potential additional costs when we meet so you can make an informed decision on the best way forward for you.

Occasionally we may need to charge a higher fixed fee for an initial consultation. For example, if you want us to read a lot of complex paperwork before the meeting. If that is the case, we will tell you before the initial consultation.

The objective of our initial consultation is to look at your options so you get preliminary information and support to help you on the path of negotiating a fair divorce financial settlement that meets your short-term and long-term needs.

If you want us to check out a proposed divorce financial settlement and convert your agreement into a binding financial court order then we can do that for you for an additional fixed fee.

For more information on our pricing look at Our Prices | Standard Fixed Fees.

For information on amicable divorce using our one-lawyer service have a look at Amicable Divorce – One Lawyer Divorce.

If you are attending family mediation sessions and would like information on your legal rights and options or on how to convert your mediated agreement into a binding financial court order our page on Mediation Support Solicitors may be of interest to you.

For friendly expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.