What Am I Entitled To In A Divorce Settlement?
The question most clients want the answer to is, “what am I entitled to in a divorce settlement?”
It is a common misconception that when it comes to divorce settlements, matrimonial assets will be split 50:50. Whilst this is a starting point, the Court’s aim will be to divide the assets fairly taking into account the needs of the parties, which does not necessarily mean each party being awarded half the assets!
Whether the Family Court is deciding the outcome of contested financial remedy proceedings, or you are negotiating your own settlement, a checklist of factors within Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 must be considered.
These factors include:
- The income and earning capacity of both parties and their financial resources both current and likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the parties.
- The standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage.
- The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
- Whether either party has any mental or physical disabilities;
- The contributions which either of the parties has made or is likely to make in the future to the welfare of the family
- The conduct of each of the parties.
- The value to each of the parties of any benefit which by reason of the dissolution of the marriage that party will lose the chance of acquiring e.g. pensions.
The Court will look at all the matrimonial assets (property and finances) that have been acquired during the marriage, otherwise known as the “marital pot”. Assets acquired prior to the marriage, “non-matrimonial assets”, may be ring-fenced, but only if the parties’ needs can be met from the marital “pot”. If they can’t be, the Court has the ability to “dip in” to these other assets because needs trump all other considerations.
Family Court judges have a wide discretion, and two different judges faced with the same facts may each order a different settlement. This is why we believe strongly in helping you to negotiate a financial settlement that you can both live with and which allows you to retain control of the decision.
If you would like some help and advice in regards to divorce settlements, or with navigating the minefield that is matrimonial finance law, please contact the Family Team at Dean Wilson on 01273 249200 to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation.