5 Assets People Forget to Split in a Divorce

When divorcing couples talk about splitting their assets they’re usually referring to the family home. Admittedly this will be a big part of the settlement but there could be a lot more up for grabs if you know where to look.

1. Pensions

Countless wives have lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds in the past because their solicitors didn’t claim a share of their husband’s pension. We have specialist knowledge in this area and experience has shown that the value of a pension can be higher than that of the marital home.

2. Investments

We’re not talking about simple savings accounts here. Most people will know about those already and will have factored them in. The things that often go unnoticed are stocks and shares, insurance policies, brokerage accounts, employee share schemes and other similar incentives and benefits. Our in-house forensic accountant looks at all this in detail for our clients to make sure we haven’t missed anything.

3. Heirlooms

Your may have never liked your spouse’s antique vase or collection of rare stamps but now is the time to get them valued. They could contribute quite significantly to the asset pot.

4. Businesses

Business interests should be considered as part of the family assets, even if the business was started prior to your marriage. The business doesn’t need to be in joint names to be considered and the courts are likely to take into account the contribution made by a spouse who has looked after the home and children whilst the other has built up the company.

5. Inheritance

Inheritance is a complex area and fact-specific. For example, money that has been left to one spouse very recently and has been left intact in a separate account might not be shared in some circumstances. However, you may have a claim to it as well as to inherited money that has been held in an account that has been used for family expenses, or property that has been transferred to joint names or used for the benefit of the family as a whole, even if these were originally bequeathed to your spouse.

Finally … Have you valued the assets accurately?

Asset valuation is complex and there can be several ways to way certain assets. Depending on how valuation has been approached, the figures are not always accurate and fair. We work very closely with property valuers, financial advisers and actuaries with expertise in pension valuation and specialist accountants who can assess business interests accurately and make sure tax issues have been taken into account.

We are also highly experienced in uncovering assets that have been hidden or undisclosed. This is really important because it’s very difficult to revisit a settlement once it has been agreed by the courts and you could end up missing out on money that will help you build a more secure future for you and your family.

Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.

This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.

Valuing the contribution of a homemaker in a divorce

When it comes to deciding how wealth will be split in a divorce settlement, the law is quite clear that there must be no discrimination between breadwinner and homemaker.

How is the contribution of a homemaker valued?

Although the Office of National Statistics has created an online calculator in an effort to put a value against unpaid work such as childcare, cooking and cleaning, in a divorce case the courts will look at the contribution from many angles, including the sacrifice of career progression and future earning potential.

Whilst the majority of homemakers are women, we are dealing with an increasing number of divorce cases involving female breadwinners whose husbands have taken time out of their careers to look after the home and family. Whatever the gender of the homemaker, the principle remains the same and contributions towards a marriage must not be valued in monetary terms alone.  The role of a spouse who has dedicated a large part of his or her married life to looking after the home and caring for children is regarded as equal to that of the main income earner.

What can a spouse do to protect themselves if they have no income?

It can be terrifying to face divorce when you have no income of your own. You may hold back from seeking legal advice because you are not sure how you will pay for it. You are also likely to be concerned about the future financial security of you and your children.

Your position as homemaker makes it more important than ever to have an experienced family lawyer on your side who can explain your rights and negotiate a fair outcome for you and your family.

As well as making sure your contribution as homemaker is properly taken into account, your solicitor will also be able to secure interim financial support to meet the cost of things such as household bills, children’s extra-curricular activities and legal expenses.

In our experience spouses who have taken on the role of homemaker often neglect to put themselves first in a divorce. It’s our job to look out for them and this includes spotting areas that could reduce their settlement if they are not handled correctly. As pension specialists, for example, we make sure the breadwinner’s pension pot has been valued accurately. We also verify the valuations of property, business interests and other assets.

We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for homemakers to have this kind of expert advice early on in the divorce process. Most cases are settled out of court these days which means agreements tend to be reached through negotiation rather than by a judge. We will act in the best interests of you and your family to make sure your contribution to the marriage is recognised and your financial future is secure.

Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.

This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.

 

6 early steps to take when you’re preparing for divorce

When you are preparing for divorce the things you do in the first few weeks can have quite an impact on the financial outcome. That’s why it’s important to take advice before you make any decisions that could affect your long term position.