A settlement agreement, sometimes known as a financial settlement, is usually the final stage in the divorce process. In this article, we look at Divorce Settlement Agreements.
It marks the point at which both parties have agreed on how to separate assets and finances and finalise the divorce officially.
Settlement agreement solicitors will help you deal with the practicalities of splitting assets, including money, property, savings, and investments.
So, how do you reach a settlement agreement?
If you’re at the stage where you’re looking into financial agreements, you’re already at the point where you’ve decided to divorce your partner.
Now, if you originally had a prenuptial agreement in place when you got married, then you’ll be able to agree on how to divide your assets between yourselves as per the agreement.
BUT if not, then you’ll need the support of a divorce and settlement agreement solicitor. If you fail to come to an agreement, you can ask a court to decide.
So, is a divorce settlement legally binding?
Now that you’ve agreed on how to divide your assets, you should ask your solicitors to draft a Consent Order.
This will detail your financial settlement and your financial positions at the time of the agreement. After that, the papers will go before a judge, who will approve the order.
Once your Decree Absolute has been granted, then the order becomes legally binding. So yep, your divorce settlement IS legally binding.
Further down the line, if your ex-partner remarries or enters a cohabitation agreement, you don’t need to do anything – your settlement agreement is still binding.
The only time you’ll need to act is if you’re paying or receiving maintenance – you’d then need to reapply to the court.
Remember, though – if you require a financial settlement, it’ll add to the cost of a divorce. A simple agreement will cost around £300 plus VAT but could be higher depending on your solicitors.
However, if your circumstances are more complicated due to additional assets, then this fee could rise to more than £1,500.
But how long does a settlement agreement take?
Once you’ve reached a financial agreement, you can obtain your Consent Order and Decree Absolute within 6 months. This means your divorce is final.
However, if you fail to come to an agreement or if your assets and finances are complex, then finalising your divorce could take anything up to 2 years.
All of this is dependent on your circumstances.
That includes whether you agree on the reasons for divorce, your financial circumstances and whether there are children involved.
Quite simply, if both parties in a divorce agree on it and the reasons why. Legally finalising the divorce should take 4-6 months.
Now, if there are issues around money, property, and childcare arrangements, then this will probably take a bit longer.
On average, a divorce in the UK takes around a year to be finalised. Which, is a pretty good assumption to make at the beginning of the process.
What happens once you’ve got a settlement agreement – can it be appealed?
If you think that your former partner concealed assets during the settlement process, then you’ve got grounds to appeal the agreement/decision.
However, you might also be able to appeal if you believe that the judge made an incorrect decision. But, the appeals process is long, and it’ll likely be a significant period before your appeal is heard.
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