Divorce Settlement: Who gets what in a divorce?

Going through a divorce is something that no one hopes to experience. It can be a stressful time, with many aspects to consider. The personal turmoil of the divorce process can make planning the more practical side of proceedings much harder.

Divorce Settlement: Who gets what in a divorce?

Many things must be considered when going through a divorce. The separation of assets is one of the significant aspects of a divorce that must be dealt with. There is much to consider, and many ways to ensure that this is carried out fairly and with minimal strain on either party. We are going to look at exactly how assets are usually divided during divorce proceedings. We will also look at what you can do to make sure that the process of dividing these assets is as fair as possible.

How the Court divides assets?

Consider any Children Involved.

While every case of divorce is different, certain aspects are similar in most of them. For example, before any other points are considered, the priority of the Court is to ensure that the welfare of any children affected by the divorce is taken into account. While, in the eyes of the law, this is often not seen as the most crucial factor of the divorce, it is nevertheless the first point that the Court will look in to.

Other Principles

There are also two other main principles that the Court takes into account before continuing in earnest with any divorce proceedings. These principles help guide the forthcoming proceedings and help shape their outcome. They also make sure that every party involved in the settlement proceedings are working along with the same framework and guidelines. These are:

  • Compensation: The Court will consider whether or not one individual in the marriage may have missed out on gaining assets at any point, due to the way their financial affairs were managed at the time.
  • Fair Sharing: The Court will also reaffirm that it views marriage as an equal partnership, and therefore that whatever profits are gained during this partnership should be shared equally.

Main factors considered when dividing assets

Once these initial points have been considered, the Court will then begin to look further into the individual divorce settlement case that has been brought before them.

No two marriages are the same. Equally, no two divorces are the same either. Because of this, there are no real set-in-stone rules when it comes to deciding how to divide assets between a divorcing couple. Instead, there are several factors that the Courts and divorce solicitors will consider when making their assessments and judgements. These are commonly referred to as Section 25 factors. Technically, they come from section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973. 

Once the Courts have first considered the children involved in the case, as well as the previous two principles we mentioned above, these Section 25 factors will then guide the decisions made during the proceedings.

These Section 25 factors are:

  • The capacity of each individual to earn income, and the financial and property assets that each own or are likely to own in the future.
  • The financial requirements and responsibilities of each spouse and what they may be in the future.
  • The standard of living experienced by all involved in the marriage before the breakdown in the relationship.
  • The ages of both members of the partnership and how long the marriage lasted.
  • Any disabilities of either spouse, both mental or physical.
  • Any contributions to the family’s welfare made by either spouse and any that are likely to be made in the future.
  • The value of any benefits lost by either spouse due to the outcome of the divorce proceedings.
  • The behaviour and conduct of each individual, and whether or not that conduct would be unfair to discount in the Court’s opinion.

The law is unfortunately quite unclear for most cases of divorce as to what any outcome might be once the settlement is concluded. Again, this is because each marriage and divorce is very different. This makes it an incredibly hard job to set any definitive legal framework to govern these outcomes.

Nevertheless, knowing the basis upon which the decisions of the Court and the divorce solicitors will be made can help a divorcing couple estimate what the likely outcome will be in their case. So much is dependant on their circumstances, and especially their financial situations.

Important points to remember

Homes

When deciding what to do with your home, the Court will first and foremost take into account the needs of any children involved in the case. This means that if you are the one taking care of the children, then the house will most likely go to you

However, if the home more than meets the needs of you and the children, then the Court may order that a sale be considered. At that point, there are multiple options as to what happens. For example, the house may be sold, and the profit split between spouses. Alternatively, the home may be held until a child reaches the age of eighteen, at which point ownership of the property would pass on to them.

Businesses

Any businesses that are owned by either spouse will be considered an asset in the same way as the marriage home. During its deliberations, the Court will consider the total value of any of these businesses and will include that value with every other asset involved in the divorce.

Splitting assets during a divorce 

Divorces are hard processes to go through, both emotionally and legally. There is much that must be considered when dividing assets between spouses. This only becomes harder when children are involved.

However, specific guidelines can be followed to attain the best result for all involved. Every marriage and divorce may be different, but with these guidelines and when you know the factors taken into account by the Courts, it can be easier to figure out exactly how these assets will be divided and act accordingly.

Need more information on dividing assets during divorce proceedings? Our experts are available now to offer their expertise in a way that can be more tailored to your specific situation. Contact a divorce lawyer now!

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