What Am I Entitled to if I Divorce My Husband?

Divorce not only marks the ending of a marital union but also the start of a new stage involving the redistribution of assets accumulated during the marriage. If you are considering divorcing your husband, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights, particularly regarding the division of assets, spousal maintenance, and the financial entitlements you may be owed.

This article discusses the financial aspects of divorce proceedings and provides insights on what you can expect during the process.

What Assets Are Considered in a Divorce Settlement?

Nearly all assets accumulated during the marriage are considered during the settlement process. These include:

Family Home: The family home is often the principal asset discussed in divorce settlements. The property is usually considered a joint asset regardless of whose name appears on the title deeds. Options for division include selling the home and sharing the proceeds or one partner buying out the other’s share.

Personal Savings: Includes all funds in joint and individual bank accounts. How these are split in a divorce depends on factors such as the contribution of each party to the savings and the financial needs post-divorce.

Pensions: Pensions are significant because they represent a substantial financial asset accumulated over time. Dividing pensions is complex and can be handled in several ways, such as sharing the pension, where both parties receive a portion of one or both pensions or offsetting the pension value against other assets.

Business Assets: If one or both partners own a business, deciding how to handle business assets becomes crucial. The portion of the business deemed ‘matrimonial property’ may need to be valued professionally and could be divided by transferring shares or compensating through other assets.

Personal Belongings: Items such as furniture, electronics, art, and jewellery are also considered for division. Typically, these items are divided based on their purchase history and practical considerations, such as children’s needs.

Gifts or Loans from Parents: These are often included in the division if used to purchase joint assets like the family home. However, gifts received by one party as a personal gift (not intended for the couple) are typically not divided.

Investments and Shares: Investment vehicles, such as bonds, stocks, etc., are divided in a divorce. Their division depends significantly on when they were acquired and how they have been managed during the marriage.

Debts: Financial obligations incurred during the marriage are liabilities that must also be divided between the parties. This covers loans, mortgages, and credit card debt.

What Am I Entitled to if I Divorce My Husband?

When it comes to divorce, there is no rule that dictates you are automatically entitled to a specific part of the marital assets, such as a strict 50/50 split. Instead, the entitlement to assets and financial settlements is largely influenced by the context of your marriage and its consequential needs.

The court aims for a “fair division,” which considers several factors to ensure both parties can move forward effectively post-divorce.

This fairness is assessed under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which includes the period of the union, the standard of living enjoyed by the couple, and future economic needs, such as the cost of caring for children and more.

Your entitlement may include various matrimonial assets like the family home, personal savings, pension funds, and potentially spousal maintenance if your financial independence is compromised. Consider consulting UK solicitors for more information on how these factors may apply to your situation.

The goal of such settlements is not just to divide assets but to provide a financial balance that compensates for disparities in earning capacity and the impact of marital responsibilities such as childcare and homemaking. 

Factors That Affect the Divorce Financial Settlement

When a marriage concludes, the division of assets is critical to ensuring both parties can independently rebuild their lives. The division of assets during a divorce follows Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which outlines various factors to ensure an impartial financial agreement. Here are the key factors:

  1. Financial Resources and Earning Capacity: The court assesses each party’s current financial resources, potential future income, and earning capacities. This includes any expected career advancements that could enhance their earning capacity.
  2. Future Financial Needs, Obligations, and Responsibilities: This involves foreseeable financial needs both parties will have, including costs associated with housing, education for children, and healthcare, ensuring both can maintain a reasonable standard of living.
  3. Standard of Living Before Divorce: The court evaluates the family’s previous standard of living to estimate the support one party may require to maintain a similar standard after divorce.
  4. Age and Duration of the Marriage: These factors are crucial, especially in long-term marriages, as they influence the division of joint assets, with longer marriages typically leading to a more even split to recognise the joint contributions made.
  5. Physical and Mental Health of the Parties: The health of both parties can affect their ability to earn income and their financial needs, which is taken into account to ensure the settlement supports both parties’ health circumstances.
  6. Contributions to Family Welfare: The asset division values and recognises each party’s contributions to family welfare, including those not financially quantifiable, such as domestic chores, childcare, and supporting the other’s career.
  7. Conduct of the Parties: Although generally not a decisive factor, the court can consider any party’s behaviour if it is deemed extremely unjust to disregard, particularly if it had a significant financial impact on the family’s welfare.
  8. Loss of Future Benefits: The settlement can account for a party’s economic disadvantages due to the divorce. This includes considering lost pension benefits or other income that would have been available if the marriage had persisted.
  9. Child Maintenance: The needs of any children involved are prioritised; their welfare, including financial requirements, educational needs, and other resources, are carefully considered. The court also looks at responsibilities toward non-biological children that have been taken on by either party.

These aspects, combined with legal precedents set by cases such as Miller v. Miller, White v. White, and McFarlane v. McFarlane, help frame the court’s decisions. 

Check out: How Much Does a Divorce Cost if Both Parties Agree

Am I Entitled to Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is not automatically granted upon divorce or separation to the husband or wife. Whether spousal maintenance is necessary depends on the post-divorce financial circumstances of both parties. The courts will determine if one party should receive maintenance to meet their ongoing financial needs, especially if the couple cannot reach a voluntary agreement.

Here are consider while deciding on spousal maintenance:

  1. Needs of the Lower Earner: Typically, spousal maintenance is awarded to support the lower earner in the relationship. The purpose is to mitigate any undue economic hardship caused by the divorce and to help the recipient maintain a reasonable standard of living.
  2. Ability of the Higher Earner: The court also assesses the higher earner’s ability to pay maintenance, considering their income, financial responsibilities, and lifestyle. The amount set aims to be fair without unduly burdening the higher earner.

The goal is to reach a maintenance agreement that respects the financial abilities of the higher earner while ensuring the lower earner and any children involved are well-supported. 

The duration of maintenance payments can vary.  It may be set for a specific period to allow the recipient time to become financially independent, sometimes coinciding with significant life events like younger children starting school.

Related reading: Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements After Divorce in the UK

Maintenance orders are not always permanent and can be adjusted due to substantial changes in the circumstances, such as the financial status of either party or the needs of the children involved.

Let Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Help You

At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we provide expert legal advice and support to ensure your rights are protected and you receive a fair divorce settlement. Our team of experienced divorce and family law solicitors specialises in all aspects of relevant laws and is ready to support you throughout the divorce process.

We can help you decide whether to pursue negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or court proceedings. From filing the initial divorce papers to finalising the decree absolute, we can handle all aspects of your divorce process. This includes drafting legally binding consent orders, negotiating financial agreements, and representing you in court, if necessary.

Let us assist you in ending this chapter of your life with honour and peace. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out more about how we can help you reach a fair divorce settlement that respects your interests and those of your family.

FAQs

Mediation is a way to resolve disputes outside of court, where a neutral third party helps the spouses reach agreements on issues such as child custody or asset division.

Assets are typically divided fairly but not always equally,  considering factors like the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions, and economic necessities after divorce.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract formed before the wedding to specify how assets will be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. It can be legally binding. 

Section 25 factors are considerations by the court regarding financial settlements, including the welfare of any children, parties’ financial needs, income and earning capacity, standard of living, and more.

Pensions count as matrimonial assets during a divorce and may be distributed among the spouses.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.

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