How are assets divided in divorce?
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When a relationship breaks down and divorce becomes the only option, it can be difficult to fully consider every issue related to joint assets and finances between you both, especially when there are children involved that must be cared for.
Going through a divorce can be a turbulent and stressful time and negotiating property acquisition and finances can only add to this. In these situations, a specialist family solicitor is a worthwhile investment. They can help you to focus on what is important and help you to achieve a timely and amicable resolution where possible.
Expert Family Law have a panel of family law solicitors with the experience and expertise required to assist you throughout the divorce process, from applying for a divorce, right through to finalising the divorce and dealing with the division of assets on divorce.
What am I entitled to in a Divorce Settlement in the UK?
What you are entitled to in your divorce settlement will depend on the circumstances of the divorce. Matrimonial assets are typically the part of the settlement that is the most up for debate. Matrimonial assets can be acquired by either party during the length of the marriage or with income earned while being married.
Generally, the two most significant matrimonial assets are either party’s pension and the family home. Other matrimonial assets can include:
- Banked finances and savings accounts
- Real estate properties
- Investments and stocks
Anything that was owned prior to the duration of the marriage is considered as non-matrimonial. Non-matrimonial assets are typically excluded in a divorce settlement unless the matrimonial assets do not add up to a sufficient amount for either party.
Do I need to go to Court to decide on a financial settlement?
If you and your former spouse can agree on a financial settlement that suits you both then this is perfectly acceptable. Although, it is advised that you discuss with a family law solicitor regarding your settlement plan to ensure that you are fully aware of your joint marital assets and their worth.
Mediation can also be used to reach a financial agreement without the need to go to Court. Family mediation is conducted by a neutral, qualified mediator who will help both parties to communicate with each other and enable you to reach a decision with their help. This will be done through a number of mediation meetings.
It is often recommended that mediation is attempted before initiating court proceedings as it can be less expensive, and it can be easier to solve any differences. However, it is important to note that the outcome of mediation is not legally binding.
If you cannot agree on how to divide assets through discussion or mediation, then court proceedings can be pursued.
How are assets divided in divorce in the UK?
So, how are assets divided in divorce? In the UK, divorce settlements typically aim to achieve a 50/50 split for both parties. However, this split is not always achievable due to other circumstances that arise, meaning that one party will receive a larger proportion of the matrimonial assets than the other.
The Court must consider several factors included in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 as well as the Civil Partnership Act 2004 when dividing assets in a divorce. This includes the financial needs and income of each party, as well as the family’s standard of living enjoyed prior to the divorce.
In terms of income, if either party has high earning potential, then this will be accounted for. The income is then considered against the financial responsibilities that each party has or will have in the future.
Finally, if the conduct of a party to the marriage was particularly severe and it would be unfair to disregard it, then this will be taken into account. This is typically for cases of domestic abuse with long lasting effects.
What orders can the Court make?
In divorce, the Court has the power to make a variety of orders. Some of these orders include the following:
- Payment of a lump sum – The Court can order a party to pay the other party a lump sum or a series of smaller sums.
- Transfer or sale of property – An order for the sale or transfer of any form of property can be made by the Court, although the most common is the matrimonial home. An order can also be made for the property to be sold and the proceeds of the sale to be divided between the parties.
- Pension sharing – The Court has the power to order the division of pensions between parties. This is known as a pension sharing order.
- Spousal maintenance – A maintenance order can be made in which a party must pay the other maintenance payments until one party remarries or for a specified period of time. In many cases, it will not be appropriate for either party to receive spousal maintenance. In these cases, the Court will typically make a ‘clean break’ order.
- Child maintenance – When a maintenance figure for a child has been agreed upon for the foreseeable future, the Court can approve the maintenance within a Consent Order.
How can divorce solicitors assist?
Divorces bring up a lot of issues to consider, from financial settlements to the sharing of childcare.
It is possible to manage your divorce or dissolution yourself using an online service provided by the Court service. However, many parties to a divorce opt to use divorce solicitors to make the process easier and as stress free as possible. A divorce solicitor will:
- Provide you with the right advice
- Assist you with paperwork, forms and applications
- Assist in avoiding court
- Ensure your best interests are considered
- Help you come to an amicable conclusion
- Assist in finding undisclosed or hidden assets and information
Throughout the process of divorce in the UK, you will need someone experienced in this field of law to fight for your best interests. Having the right team on your side can make the divorce process as stress free as possible during this difficult time.
If you are still asking the question “how are assets divided in divorce?,”contact us today.
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Whether you are going through a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, our panel of family law solicitors will provide pragmatic legal advice and assistance, guiding you through every step of the process.
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