On the assumption that the parties are married, the law conveys considerable power on a Court to distribute matrimonial finances in a way that provides for the reasonable needs of both parties and, most importantly, the children of the family. The Court has power to make the following orders:
- Lump Sum
- Property Transfer
- Pension Sharing or Attachment
- Maintenance both for Children and Spouses
The usual starting point for division of property is that of an equal share for both parties. In an ideal world where there is adequate capital to provide for the needs of both parties and any children, the Court will usually adhere to this in the case of a medium (5 year) to long (10 years+) marriage.
In a case where there is insufficient capital to meet the needs of both parties and any children, the Court will usually deviate from an equal division to allow the needs of the children to be met as best possible. This will usually mean that the primary carer of the children will leave the marriage better off than the non-resident parent, simply because they require the funds to meet the needs of the children until they reach their majority.
The Court must also consider other factors when dividing assets and apportioning capital to decide whether to deviate from an equal division. These factors are as follows:
(a) the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire.
(b) the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
(c) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
(d) the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage.
(f) the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for your family.
(g) the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.
(h) in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value of each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
The division of the matrimonial finances is therefore a complex area of the law, and we would strongly urge anyone considering a divorce to consult a solicitor regarding the financial implications of the same. At Rundlewalker, we have an experienced Family Team who can provide you with advice regarding your financial rights and the available options arising from these. We will guide you through the divorce process as painlessly as possible and always endeavour to get the best possible result for our clients.
Please contact our Family Law Team by telephone on 01392 209209. If you choose to email, please provide a contact telephone number and we will call you at the earliest opportunity.