Are assets split 50/50 in a divorce?
If you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce, you might be assuming that your house and finances will simply be split down the middle and divided evenly between you and your spouse in court. It’s an understandable assumption but it doesn’t always capture the full picture of how complex it can be to sort out finances that have been tied up with someone else for a number of years. The courts take several things into account, and they base these things around a specific section of the law regarding marriages. The financial implications of your divorce can be the most important part of the separation, so it’s important you take the proper advice before you approach the court. All of our packages include financial advice as standard.
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
This section covers the criteria the court will use when considering how to divide finances when a couple seek a divorce from one another. In the eyes of the court, a parent who chooses to stay at home to ensure the smooth running of the household and take the bulk of the child-rearing has contributed just as much to the family unit as a parent who works and brings home money.
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
- The contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
How to prepare for negotiations
There are some things you can do in advance to streamline the process and give yourself the best chance at a fair settlement. You should get all of your financial documents in order and ensure that they are dated and labelled to make it easier to refer back to them. You should also apply for statements to show the current value of any pension funds you might have. If you are planning on arguing for a specific split, it’s best to formulate the reasons you’re asking for the sum you’re looking for. Ask yourself, can I afford to live on my own? How much am I currently spending in a month on myself and my children? If you are not working, or are working part-time, would it make sense to take on extra hours? Childcare should always be taken into account, and any costs associated with your home currently and potentially in the future. There are online resources that can ease the burden and help you calculate some of these sums, and you can also identify if you now qualify for financial help from the government or child maintenance.
All of our packages include financial advice as standard, and our Personal Plus package even comes with a free Clean Break agreement worth £99. Clean Break Orders ensure that your ex-partner cannot go back to court to ask for more money or assets post-divorce and are the only way to guarantee that financial deals you and your ex-spouse reach are enforceable by law. Give us a call today and we can get you started.