Many people wonder if a new partner will have any impact on their divorce settlement. In this article, we will explore the legal implications of a new partner on a divorce financial settlement.
Understanding Divorce Settlements in the UK
Before we dive into the impact of a new partner on a divorce settlement, it’s important to understand what a divorce settlement is and how it is determined in the England and Wales.
A financial settlement in divorce is a legal agreement between two parties that outlines the division of assets, property and any other financial arrangements after a divorce. In England and Wales, the court will consider a variety of factors when determining a divorce settlement, including the length of the marriage, the financial needs of each party, and the contributions made by each party during the marriage.
What is the definition of a new partner?
If you’re trying to negotiate a divorce settlement and you have already re-married, then your new partner will certainly be taken into consideration. However, most divorce settlements are dealt with before the divorce is complete, therefore remarriage is not possible.
Cohabitation and the intention to cohabit are crucial factors when determining a partner’s status. So, what precisely constitutes cohabitation? In the case of Kimber v Kimber, specific guidelines were provided:
- Residing together in the same household.
- Sharing daily tasks and duties while living together.
- Evaluating the level of stability and permanence in the relationship.
- Considering the handling of financial matters as an indicator of the relationship.
- Assessing the presence of a sexual relationship.
- Examining the relationship between the cohabitant and any children involved, including the existence of a bond.
- Determining whether there is sufficient evidence for the cohabitation to be perceived by a reasonable person with normal perception.
Will a New Partner Impact on the Divorce Settlement?
There is no strict guideline regarding the impact of new partners on divorce settlements. The court is obligated to assess the influence of a new partner, but the extent to which it affects the final decision depends on various factors, including:
- The duration and stability of the new relationship; a stronger connection is more likely to impact the settlement.
- Whether the matrimonial assets are sufficient to fulfil the housing and financial needs of the former couple without involving the assets of the new partner. If so, they may be excluded.
- The income and assets of the new partner are also considered. Modest income and assets may be disregarded, while substantial wealth may warrant consideration in the settlement.
Impact of a New Partner on a Divorce Settlement
So what, if any, impact does a new partner have on a divorce settlement? The answer is it depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
One of the main concerns people have when a new partner enters the picture is the financial impact it may have on their divorce settlement. In most cases, a new partner will not have any direct impact on the settlement itself. This is because the court will only consider the financial needs and contributions of the two parties involved in the divorce.
However, if the new partner is financially supporting one of the parties, this may be taken into consideration by the court. For example, if the new partner is paying for the mortgage or other living expenses of one of the parties, this may be seen as a contribution and could potentially affect the settlement.
Child Support Impact
When it comes to child support, a new partner may have a more direct impact. If the new partner has children of their own, this may affect the amount of child support that needs to be paid. The Court will consider the financial needs of the new partner’s children and may reduce the amount of child support that needs to be paid by the non-custodial parent.
Additionally, if the new partner is financially supporting the custodial parent and their children, this may also be taken into consideration by the court. This could potentially reduce the amount of child support that needs to be paid by the non-custodial parent.
Don’t Hide the Facts
The Form E, the document used for each party to provide comprehensive financial disclosure, includes a section requesting concise financial details about any new partner.
It’s worth emphasising that if there is an intention to cohabit during financial settlement negotiations, it must be disclosed. Failure to disclose such intentions, and subsequent cohabitation shortly after the finalisation of the financial settlement and approval of the Consent Order, could potentially give grounds for a former spouse to challenge the settlement. This challenge may arise if there are suspicions that ‘full and frank disclosure’ was not adequately provided during the negotiation process.
Every Case is Unique
Every case is unique, and it is important to seek personalised advice when dealing with divorce settlements. If you need guidance and advice regarding your specific situation, it may be beneficial to schedule a fixed fee family law appointment. During this appointment, you can discuss your circumstances with a Tyrer Roxburgh legal professional who specialises in family law. We will be able to provide you with tailored advice based on your individual needs and help you navigate the complexities of your divorce settlement. Remember, seeking professional advice can provide you with the necessary support and guidance to make informed decisions during this challenging time.