When a couple decides to divorce, it can be challenging for them to consider every issue relating to the family finances. Married couples may have assets they acquired separately or together either during the marriage, before the marriage or after separation. Assets may be held in one spouse’s name or held jointly between them. For many married couples the largest asset is often the family home. However, this is not always the case. One spouse may have a high value pension, or business assets or interests, shares or other investments.
Are my ex-partner and I allowed to agree that they will receive less than 50% of the assets?
The simple answer is that it depends. Knowing how to go about dividing assets in a divorce can be a difficult and emotional task for those involved and the law in this area is very discretionary.
The division of assets in a divorce is typically based on what is deemed to be fair and reasonable in each individual case. This can vary depending on factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial contributions made by each spouse, and the needs of any children involved.
If you and your ex-partner have agreed that you will receive 60% of the assets and they will receive 40%, for example, for that agreement to be legally binding, then a financial consent order must be drafted by a solicitor and sealed and approved by the Court.
The Court will approve the financial consent order if they consider it to be ‘fair’ and ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.
How do I know whether our agreement regarding the assets is ‘fair’ and ‘reasonable’?
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 outlines the factors that the Court will apply when dealing with financial claims on divorce. It provides that when deciding how to exercise its powers, the Court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case, with the first consideration being the welfare and needs of any dependent children under the age of 18.
Given that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to how assets will be treated on divorce, we suggest that you take legal advice on your individual circumstances as soon as possible. Rayden Solicitors will guide you through the divorce settlement process and advise you to help you reach the financial settlement that is right for you and your family. If you would like to discuss the circumstances of your case, please contact us.