Dividing up assets during divorce can be a sticking point for even the most amicable of couples. It can be difficult to come to an agreement over financial settlements, particularly if there are complicated issues such as multiple properties, businesses, or personal investments, but a few basic ground rules apply to the division of assets:
- As a general rule, the value of all assets will be placed into a joint ‘pot’ which will then be divided between the couple according to the needs of each party. Assets may include property, vehicles, savings, the contents of bank accounts and investments as well as personal items.
- Spouses are required to declare any item worth more than £500 during divorce proceedings. The only exception to this would be an engagement ring, which is technically classified as a gift from one party to another.
- Couples can come to an agreement about how specific items can be divided via their solicitors, a mediator or arbitrator – or, if they are unable to reach a decision independently, the case may be taken to court.
In many cases, the default option is for assets to be divided roughly in half, though any decision should be based on the needs of each party, the respective financial input of each party (or the equivalent contribution of raising children and maintaining a household), and the behaviour of each party within the relationship. Luxuries and specific items can be assigned to one or other party if they have sentimental value, and spousal maintenance can include expenses towards the upkeep of a particular item, such as property.
The best approach for couples embarking on separation is to prepare as much information on your assets and liabilities for your solicitors as early as possible. This should include bank statements, details of savings accounts, investments, ownership documents, outgoings, bills, and any debts you may owe. (Remember that any liabilities will also be taken into account and ‘divided’ equally or attributed to one or other party.) It is also useful for each of you to create a realistic budget detailing your anticipated outgoings and incomings following your divorce. This will help your solicitors – or a judge – to determine your financial needs and how your wealth should be divided fairly.
If at all possible, it’s always best to try working together with your ex to determine a general idea of how you’d like to divide up your assets. Not only will this save time and legal costs, but it will hopefully prevent animosity and disagreements during the separation process. You can then work together with a mediator, arbitrator, or your solicitors to come to a final agreement.
To speak to a family law solicitor about the division of assets, and the options for divorce and separation, get in touch with us at www.franceslindsay.co.uk. Let us take the weight off your shoulders and find the right solution for your unique circumstances.arbitration, dividing assets, divorce, financial settlement, mediation, separation