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UK divorce is it a 50 50 split?

UK family law – Are assets split 50 50 in a divorce?

Many clients seeking our divorce and family law services ask us, are assets split 50 50 in divorce?

Top family lawyers in London state that a 50/50 split in a divorce is a myth. It is and has always been a difficult task to predict with accuracy the outcome of a dispute relating to matrimonial finance, as not only is each case very much decided upon its own facts, but judges have wide discretion when considering the various factors which they need to take into account under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In summary, the section deals with the needs and resources of the parties, their financial and non-financial contributions during the duration of the marriage, their earning capacity, the welfare of any children of the family, the existence of any pre-marital property, pensions and in extreme cases the conduct of the parties during the duration of the marriage. The idea is to place the parties as far as possible in the same position as they would have been if the marriage (or civil partnership) had not broken down.

Each case depends on its own facts.

There are no cases that are the same, and much depends on the facts of each case. So although the attempt to reach financial equality when a relationship breaks down is a fair starting point, when looking at all the circumstances of the case this default position may well change, so a 50/50 in a divorce split may be either too much or too little.

What is taken into account in the division of assets?

In order to consider the extent of the parties entitlements, all assets, whether acquired during the marriage or civil partnership are listed, together with the values of pensions and any inherited property, together with the liabilities of each party, such as loan repayments, other debts and mortgages, and once the needs of the parties and their children are fully satisfied from those assets, attention will be given as to how any surplus assets are to be treated. If for example one of the parties to the marriage has single-handedly made an enormous fortune boosting the family resources and finances, due solely to their knowledge, skills or expertise, the court may well conclude that the other party, for example, the wife who made indirect contributions to the family assets by looking after the home and children, should receive less than half of the couples total assets, because of the husband’s amazing enormous contribution to the families finances, as not to do so may not be fair in all the circumstances.

Again if a party to the marriage or civil partnership has inherited property prior to marriage, which has never been mixed in any way with the assets acquired by the parties during the course of the marriage, and if the needs of the parties have been met by a redistribution of the matrimonial assets, then the other party may be able to retain more than 50 per cent by keeping the inherited property for example.

In the same way if for example, the husband has a business with no capital value, say rented premises, which generates income, say a Fish and Chips take away, from which he derives his only income, and the needs of the wife have been met, and there is no clean break agreement, it is unlikely he will be ordered to sell the goodwill in the business and split it equally with his wife. After all, to do so would take away the husband’s sole income-producing asset.

Conclusion – UK divorce is it a 50 50 split?

In conclusion, whilst achieving equality may be the default position, it may not end that way, as circumstances may prove equality to be too little or too much depending on the circumstances of each case. It is always advisable to seek the adequate legal advice before pursuring a divorce hearing. Such legal disputes are deliacet in nature can affect ones livelihood indefintily if not handled correctly.


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