What are my rights to property and money under UK divorce law?


Whilst marriage is still a popular legal institution, it is the case that as many as 35 per cent of marriages may end in divorce. If a married couple have decided that their marriage is over, it is highly advisable that both parties consult separate divorce lawyers in order to obtain legal advice concerning their rights to property and money under UK divorce law.

To start with, a difference will have to be drawn between marital (joint) and non-marital assets. This is because marital assets will have to be divided between the divorcing pair, whereas non-marital assets will not necessarily be deemed as part of the shared wealth.

For example, non-marital assets can include:

  • Money and property inherited before the marriage
  • Pay-outs from legal settlements, such as personal injury awards
  • Gifts intended for one party rather than for the couple
  • Any assets excluded by means of a valid pre-nuptial agreement

However, there must be sufficient documentation to prove that any assets are non-marital, and the onus of proof is on the party claiming that these assets lie outside the shared property and money.

Marital assets to be divided by agreement or through court order can include:

  • Any assets acquired during the marriage, such as the marital home and its contents
  • Any debts acquired during the marriage, such as credit card debt and hire purchase agreements

However if a non-marital asset, such as one party’s inheritance, was used to help purchase a joint asset like the marital home, then it becomes a more complicated matter of tracking those funds in order to claim the percentage. In addition, the names of both parties need to appear on items such a household bills and investments in order to demonstrate that they are shared.

If there is a disagreement about the marital assets, for example if the marital home has only one name on the deeds, then the party that feels vulnerable would be advised to consult a divorce solicitor about whether they have a right to remain in the family home and a right to make any claim for a share in the property through the courts. Similarly, if one party needs to apply for financial support (maintenance) from the other party and the two cannot agree, they will need legal advice in order to further pursue their claim.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on divorce, Caven can put you in touch with a local divorce solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local divorce solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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