Carl & Eric’s Story: Dividing finances from a civil partnership without the fuss of court
Carl and Eric were together for many years and had a beautiful adopted daughter. They’d been quite successful in life. They owned two properties, had a generous pension pot, nice cars and some savings in the bank. Unfortunately after several years together Carl and Eric found themselves increasingly unhappy in their relationship. They were moving apart and they wanted to separate.
Doing the right thing for the child
Both Eric and Carl had seen friends and family go thorough messy separations. They knew that going to court could put a strain on their daughter’s happiness and their future friendship. So, early in the process they made a commitment to do everything by the book and put the needs of their daughter front and centre in any negotiations.
They went to mediation to try and divide up their assets and negotiate child arrangements amicably. Over the course of the week, they hashed out a solid agreement for child care that would keep their daughter at her current school and share custody throughout the week. But, when it came to dividing up the finances they hit a roadblock. Eric had agreed to move out of the main family home but would need to purchase a new house nearby. Unfortunately most of Eric’s equity was tied up in the family home and the pension pot. In mediation Eric had suggested dividing the assets by releasing equity from the house in return for regular payments to Carl. Carl was afraid this could leave him out of pocket. If Eric lost his job or had a change in circumstances he would be stuck with a higher mortgage and less equity. That’s when Carl came to HRS for expert legal advice.
The first free appointment
Carl came for a first free appointment at our brand new offices in the Lewisham Building, central Birmingham. As the case involved large assets and a degree of complexity, we paired him with our most senior finance solicitor Bryan. Bryan has over 20 years’ experience handling complex finance cases. He’s a keen negotiator with a great eye for detail. As soon as Carl met Bryan he felt at ease. Our receptionist made Carl a nice coffee and Bryan listened to his story. Carl felt really positive getting everything off his chest. Bryan told Carl that he 100% understood the need to resolve things amicably and he would use all of his legal know how and negotiating skills to get the best result for everyone. Armed with detailed knowledge about the case, Bryan quickly set about getting to grips with negotiations.
Variable and non variable orders
Bryan found that Carl would indeed be at risk of losing out should Eric have a change in circumstances. That’s because of something known as variable and non-variable financial orders. When two partners split finances, they often negotiate the fine details and put the result into a court order. The two partners will normally agree to split finances using a combination of lump sum pay outs and regular payments. These two different types of payments have different rules attached to them. Lump sum payments are considered non-variable. That means that once the order has been made the final amount can’t be changed even if the person paying it has a change in circumstances. Payments that are made on a more regular basis, like mortgage repayments, child support, or living contributions are considered variable orders. That means that if the person responsible for making the payments has a change in circumstances, like a change in their income, they can apply to the court to get the amount of money they owe reduced.
Negotiating a deal for everyone
Bryan told Carl about variable and non variable orders and sought his instruction. Together they made a list of everything Carl wanted, the best case scenario and the worst case scenario for each case. Bryan then went and opened extensive negotiations clear about exactly what Carl wanted. Bryan managed to broker a great agreement for all sides where Carl would pay out a smaller lump sum in return for a hold on Eric’s new property. This gave both sides the security they needed to finalise their negotiations.
We used our expert family law legal knowledge and strong negotiation skills to get Carl, Eric and their daughter an agreement everyone could get behind. We did it by:
- Giving Carl a plain English explanation of the law and where he stood in negotiations
- Listening carefully to Carl’s instructions about what he wanted from the negotiations
- Working with all sides to come to a mutual agreement everyone could get behind
- Using our expert legal knowledge to give all parties security and peace of mind.
Book your FREE Appointment Today
If you have a story like Carl and Eric’s and want some help negotiating a financial settlement with your former partner, book an appointment today. You can speak to an expert family lawyer for free at your first appointment.