Divorce and Finance

If your relationship is causing you concern or has broken down then our barristers can advise and represent you at Court, whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or living together.


If you have been married for at least one year and believe that your marriage has come to an end, you can issue divorce proceedings.

To obtain a divorce in England or Wales you must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You can establish irretrievable breakdown by proving one of the following five facts:

adultery: your husband or wife has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them
unreasonable behaviour: your husband or wife has behaved in such a manner that you cannot be reasonably expected to live with them (unreasonable behaviour)
lived apart for two years: you have lived apart for two years and you both agree to there being a divorce
deserted:your husband or wife has deserted you for a period of two years or more
lived apart for five years: you have lived apart for five years or more — a divorce can be secured whether or not your husband or wife agrees to a divorce.

Financial Settlements on Divorce

Reaching a financial settlement
Financial provision is the term used to describe the financial settlement made to each party when a marriage ends in divorce or nullification. As you may imagine, this can be a difficult and even combative part of the breakdown of a relationship, and coming to an agreement is sometimes not easy. Every case is different, and they can range from the relatively simple to the highly complex. They can involve shared assets, such as properties, savings, investments, pension funds and businesses, and obligations such as the payment of maintenance and the provision for children.

In general,the split should be fair, there should be no discrimination between husband and wife, or between the money–earner and the home–maker.

Financial Settlements and the Law
The law governing the Courts’ approach to financial settlements on divorce is governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

The aim of the law is to arrive at “fairness”. If there are children, the first consideration is their welfare, including their housing needs, and this may impact on the overall financial settlement. The court will also take account of:

age of the parties (including life expectancy of each party in respect of future income) and length of the marriage
contribution both in financial and other ways (including bringing up children and inheritance)
resources and needs of the parties
standard of living during the marriage

Civil Partnerships

The Civil Partnership Act gives civil partners virtually the same rights as married couples. We advise clients who are considering entering into a civil partnership and also those whose civil partnership has sadly broken down. The above provisions relating to finance on divorce will apply.

Pre–Nuptial and Pre–Registration Agreements

If you are planning to marry or about to enter into a civil partnership, it is advisable to consider a Pre–Nuptial or Pre–Registration Agreement.

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