Going through a divorce is nearly always a stressful experience, and there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration as a part of the process. One of the most important is how your assets will be split between you and your ex-spouse once the divorce has been finalised. Our experienced divorce solicitors are here to help guide you through this large transition in your life and support you in all of these areas.
Surprisingly, there is no exact formula when it comes to the division of assets in divorce in England and Wales – the law is classed as discretionary which means that, if a voluntary settlement cannot be agreed and the court needs to become involved, both party’s income, lifestyle and contribution will be into account to decide on how much either party should receive.
In general, the principle of “fairness” rules over this process, so both partners’ situations will be considered, and the court will take into account variables such as:
- Matrimonial assets: This term refers to assets that were acquired during the marriage, which includes properties, savings, investments, pensions and personal belongings.
- Non-matrimonial assets: This refers to any assets acquired before the marriage began as well as inherited assets and assets that have been received as gifts.
- Financial requirements: The court can consider the financial requirements of both parties, including income, housing and any children involved.
- Contributions: The court will consider the financial and non-financial contributions made by each party to the marriage. This may include financial contributions as well as other aspects such as childcare and homemaking.
- Age, health and earning capacity: The court will consider the age, health and earning capacity of each partner, also factoring in everyone’s ability to take care of themself in the future.
- Standard of living: The court will do its best to ensure that both individuals will be able to have a reasonable standard of living after the divorce is finalised.
- Child arrangements: If there are children involved, their wellbeing will be considered paramount.
How is property split during a divorce?
The family home is often one of the most important and valuable assets obtained during a marriage. However, in reality, it is just like any other asset and should be divided out between you and your ex-spouse in the event of a divorce. This remains true even if one person contributed all the money towards its purchase.
As mentioned above, ‘fairness’ will be considered when dividing matrimonial assets, but there is no such thing as a ‘standard split’ of assets even for the family home, and it will be at the courts discretion after factoring in several variables who gets what after a divorce is finalised.
In general, it is often better to come to a mutual agreement outside of the courtroom about how all assets will be divided out, as again, this is often far cheaper and much less stressful.
If this is something that you are interested in, our divorce solicitors also have years of experience in dealing with separation agreements and have helped countless former partners navigate the divorce process in a productive and amicable fashion.
What methods can be used for splitting assets during a divorce?
Alternative dispute resolution
Typical UK divorce settlements are often achieved voluntarily between the two individuals who are separating via alternative dispute resolution which allows both parties to reach an amicable agreement without the need to go to court.
This can be done via negotiations between the two parties, through or with the guidance of experienced divorce solicitors. There is also the possibility of mediation which brings a neutral third party in to help facilitate talks that result in a mutually agreeable settlement.
Alternative dispute resolution is championed by many solicitors due to it often being faster than going through the court system, resulting in less contention, being cheaper and putting the individuals involved in control of the details of their settlement. Once agreed upon, the settlement can then be made legally binding through an application to the court for a Consent Order.
Going to court
If the two parties involved cannot agree on a voluntary settlement or alternative dispute resolution is not deemed appropriate for this particular situation, going to court may be unavoidable. This means applying to the court for a Financial Order, which would ask to court to decide on how the assets will be divided.
Whilst going to court is almost guaranteed to be more expensive and often is more stress-inducing, there are some benefits. These include the fact that the spouses do not have to work together in terms of dividing their assets, this can be a positive thing if the separation has been particularly tumultuous. Also, the division of assets will be decided by an experienced professional using an objective method. The result will also be legally binding. However, it can be subject to any appeals by either party.
Consult our divorce solicitors in Banbury, Bicester and Rugby
If you would like to speak to a solicitor with expertise in guiding individuals through divorce and separation, please get in touch with a member of our team.