It's not as straightforward as being able to divide all of the financial assets in half. It's normally good practice to set out the parties’ assets, income and liabilities and to consider an equal division of these as a starting point.
The below factors can then be applied in order to determine where, or if, there should be a diversion from equality.
When deciding how to distribute a married couples assets and income the Court has to apply a checklist of factors set out by statute. These factors are applied in every divorce case, regardless of whether you are negotiating your own settlement, or you have made an application to Court.
The Court's primary consideration will always be the welfare of any minor children of the family. These are children who have not reached the age of 18.
Other prevalent factors considered by the Court include the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources each party currently has, or is likely to have in the foreseeable future. If one party has moved on and is 'cohabiting' with a new partner then it is possible for their income and financial resources to be considered also.
When negotiating a financial settlement, the Court will also consider the needs of the parties, the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage, and the age of the parties and the duration of their marriage.
Less frequently used factors include physical or mental disabilities advisers to the parties and contributions and conduct of the parties. It is normally quite difficult to argue contributions and conduct, as these must be substantial. For example where adultery has taken place this will generally not amount to conduct which will affect the financial division of assets.
Rachel Furniss is a Family Law Paralegal at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Milton Keynes.
For a free initial consultation call our Divorce Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help.
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