Is Everything Always Split 50/50 in Divorce?

Is everything always split 50/50 in divorce?  This is possibly one of the most common questions and biggest divorce myths we hear.  In reality, there is no set formula when it comes to splitting assets in divorce.

The law provides general guidelines and gives the Courts a wide range of discretion.  The law itself (Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) is nearly 50 years old now but the factors set out in it are still used today. Here’s a summary:

  • The welfare of any children is always the first consideration.
  • Income, earning capacity and other financial resources which are available now or may be available in the future.
  • The expenditure that each person has now and is expected to have in the future including liability for debts.
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage (although it may not be possible to divide the money between two households and retain the same standard of living).
  • Health problems or disability which may impact on earning capacity or care costs.
  • The contribution each person has made to the welfare of the family, both financially and in looking after the home and children.
  • Conduct, although behaviour has to significantly impact on the financial position of the family before it is taken into account.
  • The value of any benefit, such as pensions, which is being lost as a result of the divorce.

The negotiations that go on as a result of these factors are the most important discussions you will have during your divorce. It is crucial you have someone on your side to secure an agreement that is fair otherwise you risk making some costly mistakes. There are however some practical steps below you can take to prepare for these negotiations.

How to prepare for financial negotiations

You will save a lot of time and money if you can do some preparation:

  • Organise all of your financial documents so that they are easily identified and in date order.
  • Apply for statements showing the current value of any pension funds.
  • Think about where you see yourself living in the future. If you need to move – how much would it cost to buy a different property and what would the purchase costs, stamp duty and moving costs be? How much can you borrow on a mortgage on your own?
  • Prepare a list of your monthly expenditure – what are you actually spending now? Include everything.  Also prepare a similar budget for the future and do a separate schedule for everything you need to pay out for your children.
  • If you are on a low income use a website like entitledto to calculate whether you will qualify for financial help from the state.
  • Use the Child Maintenance Service’s online calculator to check what your liability or entitlement for child maintenance may be.
  • If you are not currently working or working part time think about whether it is practical to get a job or increase your hours. If so, what would be able to earn? Would there be child care costs if you were working?
  • Take advice from a specialist family lawyer at an early stage.

We are specialist family lawyers who can help you get a fair deal.  We understand what is important to you.  Give us a call today on 01423 594680.

Andrew Meehan is an experienced family lawyer specialising in complex divorces involving significant or hidden assets, as well as cases involving children.

He is recommended for family law by both Chambers 2018 (York, Hull and surrounding regions) and the Legal 500 2017 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region).

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be replied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk.