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What do the courts consider in financial settlements?

In navigating the intricate landscape of family law, courts play a pivotal role in determining financial settlements including the allocation of resources and responsibilities among the parties involved. The exercise of judicial powers under sections 23, 24, 24A, 24B, and 24E of family law statutes requires a comprehensive examination of various factors to ensure equitable, fair outcomes. These factors, range from financial resources to the welfare of children. In this article we outline the key considerations a court must evaluate in the process of concluding a financial settlement order.


The Welfare of Children 

Central to the court's considerations is the welfare of children involved in the familial context. The court must prioritise the welfare of any child under the age of eighteen. If there are children involved in case, the court's priority is their welfare. This consideration reiterates the importance of safeguarding the best interests of children amidst family disputes.


Financial Considerations

Financial resources and obligations of parties to the marriage form a significant aspect of the court's deliberation. This includes assessing the income, earning capacity, property, and financial needs of each party. Moreover, the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage provides a benchmark for evaluating financial provisions post-separation. It is important to note that the finances are not always split 50/50 or based on previous financial contributions to the marriage.


Duration of Marriage and Contributions 

The duration of the marriage and the contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family are vital considerations. Contributions may include domestic responsibilities such as caregiving or homemaking, which are valued in the determination of equitable outcomes. This means that not only financial contributions weigh into the courts decisions which caters for parties who may have been unemployed during the marriage.


Conduct of Parties

The conduct of parties, if deemed relevant, is also considered by the court. This includes behaviour that may impact the equitable distribution of resources or responsibilities, ensuring that inequitable conduct is not disregarded. This could include instances of domestic violence, abusive behaviour or criminal offences.


Child-Centric Considerations 

When the court exercises its powers concerning the children of the family, specific factors come into play. These include the financial needs of the child, their education, any disabilities, and how they were being educated or trained before the breakdown of the marriage. For financial settlements, this may mean that whichever party holds custody to the child, may require further financial support to look after their child's specific needs.


Responsibility for Non-Biological Children

In cases involving children who are not biologically related to a party but are considered part of the family, the court evaluates whether the party assumed responsibility for the child's maintenance knowingly and the extent of such responsibility.  


Choose MSD Solicitors to guide you through your financial settlement

Whether through skilled negotiation or representation in court, we are committed to empowering individuals to secure the financial settlements they deserve, allowing them to move forward with confidence and peace of mind. Contact our experienced family law solicitors today to support your financial settlement case.  


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