How are assets affected in a divorce?
When considering how to divide assets the law has regard to Section 25 of Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The first point of consideration is whether there are any dependent children and there are then a number of other factors which must be considered. The law has regard to your individual financial pot and the outcome will depend on your individual circumstances:
Current and future financial support and earning capacity
The income, earning capacity, property or other financial resources which either party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
Needs and Responsibilities
The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
Health and wellbeing requirements
Any physical or mental disability of either party.
Age and marriage duration
Age of each party and length of the marriage/relationship.
The contributions made by each party to the marriage – this does not just mean financial contributions as contributions to the upbringing of children and running of household are just as important.
The conduct of each party involved is not relevant in the majority of cases.
There are no firm rules as to how assets are to be divided. Each case is different and decided on its own facts. The court has wide discretion to make various financial orders such as orders for the sale or transfer of property, lump sum orders and maintenance. The aim is to achieve a fair solution and assets owned jointly may be required to be divided unequally or those assets owned solely shared or transferred. The Court can block or enforce house sales and decide how equity should be split depending on the circumstances. You also need to consider pensions, assets and income. Often the key to settlement is the reasonable needs of both of you, and you will each need to carefully consider what those needs are and how they can be met fairly before entering into a settlement.
How long does a financial settlement take?
Timeframes for financial orders are determined by the complexity of each situation. For simple scenarios and with cooperative behaviour from both parties financial settlement can be concluded swiftly. If there are complications, or disagreements, or a Court application is required then the process can take as long as 9-18 months and in some limited cases, in particular with very complicated assets or positions, it can be longer still. Specialist advice will be able to assist you in reaching the quickest and fairest solution for your particular circumstances.
Disclaimer: Please note that this page is for guidance only and does not replace legal advice. It is correct with the law at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation – contact us for dedicated help for you.