When seeking a divorce in the UK, one of the most challenging aspects is dividing the finances and the belongings. The current law that governs the split is laid out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. It carries basic guidelines the English and Welsh courts apply for settling financial claims made by couples for property, pensions, savings and maintenance. Although this is an old legislation, it is often considered a reference point.
In this article, we will help you understand marital assets, the factors the court considers for their division and how they are divided during a divorce.
What is a Marital Asset?
A marital asset is anything of value you or your spouse (or both) acquired during your marriage. However, anything accrued outside the marriage, i.e., before the union or after separation, is labelled a non-matrimonial asset.
While dividing assets in divorce UK, the split is often unequal. The reason lies in several factors, including:
- If there are any dependent children (children under 18).
- Age of partners at the time of the split.
- Each spouse’s income, expenses, and financial commitments.
- The lifestyle that the couple enjoyed during their marriage.
- The physical and mental capacity of both parties.
- The total length of the relationship, including any time spent living together as a couple before getting married.
- Each spouse’s responsibilities and contributions in the marriage, including but not limited to the upbringing of the children or each’s financial support during the marriage.
Since each divorce case differs, the court considers how much housing, income, and pension money each party requires. Post evaluation, the court awards a fair percentage to both partners.
Essentially, this means that if the needs of one party are more than the other, then the former receives a higher percentage than the latter and vice versa.
Note: Some assets may not be split equally, even if both parties needs are met.
Assets that are built during the marriage are considered for divorce settlements. These include:
Business assets: In a divorce, the business owner can keep it, and the other partner is provided with a larger share of other assets. In some cases, the two can share the business income or ownership.
Matrimonial home: The court considers the needs of the dependent children while deciding about the family home. If the house is too big, it can be sold, and the money is divided between the two partners. Other options include moving the home to one of the spouses or keeping it until the child completes his education or attains a certain age.
Personal belongings: Possessions such as a music collection, a family car or furniture are pieces of deep attachment. Generally, the one who buys it keeps it. But if it is co-owned, the individual who paid more can purchase it by paying the other person.
Pensions: Usually, the pension is regarded as a joint asset and is split equally but can be adjusted.
An expert in family law matters can help you navigate if you find any difficulties in this.
- Non-marital property, such as inheritances or assets acquired before marriage and kept separate from joint finances, are treated differently.
- Gifts from parents or others to one spouse are usually considered marital property in England and Wales. However, third-party gifts are not counted as in Scotland.
Dividing property, assets and possessions during a UK divorce can be complicated. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best outcome for each couple will vary depending on their circumstances. When the court tries to achieve a fair division of the assets, it will consider several factors to divide the assets.
If you seek a divorce in the UK, legal advice from a divorce solicitor will be essential to protect your assets. Visit Lawyersorted.com and search the list of law firms to find the right professional.
Written By –
CEO & Founder at Lawyersorted.com