FAQs: Division of financial assets in divorce

 

Do we need to go to court?

If a divorcing couple agrees on the separation of their finances, their family solicitors can draw up a Consent Order. A Consent Order can include all shared items since the marriage, such as money, property, life insurance, child maintenance, pensions and savings. The signed document is sent, along with details of each partner’s financial situation, to the court. If the court approves, the Order will form a legal contract.

What is the court process?

If a divorcing couple cannot agree, they can apply to the court to decide the division of marital assets. Both parties should seek the advice of their family solicitors in order to guide them through this process and to represent them if they are required to attend a hearing. Initially, each party files a full financial statement and the court determines whether negotiation would be useful. If agreement is still not forthcoming, there will be a full hearing in court.

Will everything be divided 50/50?

An equal division of a couple’s finances would be ideal. However, individual circumstances and children’s needs must be taken into account. For example, the court will consider:

  • The earning capacity of the parties
  • The parties’ financial obligations
  • Any child’s accustomed standard of living
  • Any child’s age, and any illnesses or disabilities

The court will seek to make a clean break regarding shared financial commitments, wherever possible.

What happens to the family home?

The court can make various orders regarding the former matrimonial home. For example, the house could be transferred from joint names to one name only, in return for a lump sum paid to the party whose name is removed from the deed. Alternatively, the house could be sold and the proceeds divided according to the needs of the parties regarding re-homing. Or the house sale could be deferred until the parties’ children have left home.

Will my pension be included?

Pensions are part of the financial ‘pot’ that has to be shared equitably upon divorce. One partner often has a more substantial pension than the other, and the court may redress the balance. For example, the judge could order that a difference is ‘offset’ by awarding the other party a greater share of the family home. A family solicitor is the best person to advise you regarding the different ways in which pensions can be considered by the court.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on the division of financial assets in divorce, we can help to put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor for free. Call our experienced case handlers on 08001 221 2299 and let our dedicated case handlers match you with appropriate expert solicitors.

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