Indeed, the reasons why couples are deciding to divorce, now seem to take a ‘back seat’, when compared to the features of the financial settlement. Family law solicitors often find details such as who’s getting the holiday home in the Bahamas and the yacht moored off Marseille, are often seen as more interesting than why the divorce happened in the first place, which by the time a couple go to court, is well and truly yesterday’s news.
Since 2009, the press have been able to attend certain family court hearings and report (within certain parameters) what happens, to the general public. For any celebrity or high net worth individual hoping not to have the details of their financial affairs immediately making headlines, this can be a challenge. There have been many people who have appealed to judges to bar the press from revealing their identity. For a variety of reasons, this is sometimes not possible. Indeed, there are many good reasons why decisions made in family courts should not be made away from public scrutiny. However, for those fearing that their divorce settlement may be made public by the press, this doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow. So what can you do to avoid your finances becoming tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?
Easier said than done, but one of the best ways to avoid those lengthy and potentially very public court battles, is to come to an agreement with your spouse in private.
Both you and your spouse should seek independent legal advice from a specialist Family Law Solicitor. A specialist family law solicitor should be able to talk you through what a court may potentially see as a fair settlement and provide you with a starting point for your negotiations with your spouse.
If you do not want to negotiate directly with your spouse, you can request that your family law solicitors do this on your behalf or you can embark on the process of collaborative law, where discussions take place in four way meetings between you, your spouse and your respective solicitors.
You and your spouse can meet with an impartial person, known as a mediator, who will help you to come to an agreement about what will happen with regards to your finances (they can also help with problems regarding who will care for the children), by ensuring that your discussions are constructive.
It’s worth noting that mediators do not give advice, so you may still need to take advice form your solicitor before these sessions.
You could opt to have the financial side of your divorce heard in private by an arbitrator (usually a retired judge), instead of going to a public court.
For more information about this process, take a look at our article.
Court cases are not only costly and time consuming, but they could also mean that the details of your divorce are available for people to read about over their morning bowl of cornflakes.
Speak to your solicitor if you’re concerned about your privacy when it comes to your divorce settlement.
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