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There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how assets get divided following the breakdown of a marriage. Many married couples assume that everything will be split 50/50 when a civil partnership ends, but this isn’t necessarily the case. All divorces will be presented to the court and each parties’ solicitor will take into account the different factors when helping their client divorce splitting assets.
The factors taken into account during a divorce settlement are taken from section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973. Since 2000 the overriding factor in family cases, however, is fairness. In the eyes of the courts, fairness comprises of the following three elements:
Section 25 addresses each of these elements in-depth, focusing on aspects such as financial affairs management during the marriage, pensions, financial needs, standard of living and the conduct of each spouse.
Whilst section 25 gives guidance as to how everything will be addressed, it does not give an exact formula as to the outcome of a divorce. The court will assess each spouse’s claim against the stipulations of needs, compensation and sharing.
If you are going through a divorce make sure to answer all your solicitor’s questions in full; do not hold back through fear or embarrassment. As your legal aid, they need to see the full picture to put together your case. Give them financial information about you and your spouse, details of any pensions, and property details and make sure to voice that you have dependent children if this is the case. The courts and family law put the welfare of the family and children above anything else.
How a property is split after divorce will depend on a number of different factors. In most scenarios one spouse will usually buy the other out, or the property will be sold, the mortgage paid, and the remainder of the cash split between the two parties.
However, if children are involved they will be taken into consideration. Often, the primary caregiver will be offered to live in the property with the children until they are 18 or have finished full-time education. Sometimes properties are sold if they exceed the needs of the spouse and children they are caring for.
During a divorce, a business is considered to be as much of an asset as the family home. Regardless of whether the business was started before the marriage, or whether it is owned by just one spouse, it will be considered at court alongside all other family assets.
It should be remembered that not all asset division cases end up going through the courts. This is only a last resort when a divorcing couple cannot reach a financial settlement about how to divide everything they have owned together.
The judge will take into account all the Sector 25 factors, as well as your age, duration of the marriage, earning capacity and the financial needs of each party. The judge will divide assets based upon what is fair and reasonable, sometimes equally. However, if the judge believes that there is a good reason to split assets unequally they have the discretion to do so.