Finances and asset division in my divorce

Asset division during a divorce can be a complex process that requires careful consideration of legal principles and individual circumstances. Unlike other areas of law, there is no fixed formula for dividing assets in divorce proceedings. Instead, the court employs a discretionary approach in England and Wales, taking into account the unique needs and situations of both parties to achieve a fair and equitable division of assets. Edwards Family Law is a team of experienced divorce solicitors based in London, specialising in financial matters and asset division in divorce.

FAQs

What do I need to understand about asset division in my divorce?

Asset division during a divorce can be a complex process that requires careful consideration of legal principles and individual circumstances. Unlike other areas of law, there is no fixed formula for dividing assets in divorce proceedings. Instead, the court employs a discretionary approach in England and Wales, taking into account the unique needs and situations of both parties to achieve a fair and equitable division of assets.

Hiding, selling, or transferring assets with the intent to prevent the other party from receiving their rightful share can be viewed as an attempt to ‘put assets beyond a person’s reach.’ Such actions may not only jeopardise the transparency of the proceedings and increase costs, the court also has the power to set aside those transactions in certain circumstances.

To navigate the intricacies of asset division in divorce effectively, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. Our experienced team at Edwards Family Law has a wealth of knowledge in this area and can assist you in safeguarding your interests while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

How do I find if my partner has any hidden assets?

In cases where one party is suspected of concealing assets, our firm has extensive experience in addressing such concerns. We have handled numerous situations where one party refused to disclose assets, necessitating proceedings to ensure full disclosure. At Edwards Family Law, we are committed to ensuring that you have access to all the necessary financial information. If your partner is uncooperative in disclosing their assets, we are prepared to pursue legal avenues to compel disclosure.

How do I resolve financial issues during my divorce?

There are several avenues to resolve financial matters in divorce cases, and our approach is tailored to your unique circumstances. We work closely with you to develop a strategy aligned with your goals, whether that involves voluntary disclosure and negotiations, arbitration, or court proceedings. We prioritise efficiency, avoiding unnecessary legal fees associated with unsuccessful dispute resolution methods but will always strive to have your case resolved by agreement if possible. If we determine that an alternative approach is needed, we will promptly advise you, allowing you to make informed decisions.

Will how long we have been married impact the financial settlement on divorce?

Yes, the court treats short, medium and long marriages differently. It is important to remember that if you lived with someone (cohabited) directly before getting married that ‘cohabitation period’ will be added on to the length of your marriage. For example – a couple who lived together for 5 years and have been married for 1 year would be considered a medium length marriage of 6 years not a short marriage of 1 year.

How will our assets be divided when we divorce?

There are three things the law considers when deciding how to divide assets on divorce: sharing, needs and compensation.

Sharing: What has been built up during the marriage (and crucially how much is it all worth) and what does this give each person when divided 50:50? In a ‘sharing case’ you often see disputes about how much things are worth and who will keep what since this affects the amount each person receives when dividing up the assets.

Needs: If dividing the assets 50:50 does not give each person what they need, you must then see if it would be appropriate for one person to receive a greater share of the money. For example, because the children primarily live with them or because they do not work and are therefore unable to obtain a mortgage. A “needs case” will usually result in a departure from 50:50. The exact percentage will depend on the circumstances of your case, but you may see outcomes where the assets are shared 60:40 or 65:35 for example.

Compensation: Finally, the law will consider whether anyone be compensated because of special circumstances? Whilst the law does allow for this, it is very rare to see this in practice. The law does not compensate anyone for being on the receiving end of bad or immoral behaviour. Examples may be when one person has specifically given up a very lucrative promotion to allow the other person to advance their career – and it is not a ‘needs case’ so there is enough money available to compensate the person.

Does it matter if the family home is not in my name and/or I am not named on the mortgage?

No. The family home has special status and will likely be considered ‘matrimonial’ even if you did not pay for it directly and/or have not been paying the mortgage. It would be sensible to apply for a Homes Right Notice via HM Land Registry in these circumstances, however, to ensure your right to occupy the property is clear to any third parties and help prevent the chances of your spouse trying to sell the property without your agreement.

Am I entitled to share money that is not in my sole name when we divorce?

Yes, if it is ‘matrimonial’. An example of matrimonial money is – money your spouse received as a bonus that he/she put in an account in their sole name. This is not their money. It is family money since it was earned during the marriage. It does not matter whose account it is held in. If the money is ‘non-matrimonial’ then it will not be shared unless there is not enough money elsewhere to meet everyone’s financial needs. An example of ‘non-matrimonial money’ is inherited money that (importantly) has been kept separate from family money.

I inherited some money during our marriage. Can I ringfence that money when we get divorced?

If you have kept that money separate during your marriage then it is possible to ringfence it. If the money has been combined with family money – for example you used it to pay off your mortgage, then it is unlikely you will be able to ringfence that money. Even if the money / asset has been kept separate throughout the marriage, it will still depend on whether there is enough money elsewhere to meet everyone’s needs. If there is not, it may be that some of the inheritance is needed to meet those needs. In those circumstances, only the amount needed to ensure everyone’s needs are met will be considered. It would not mean all the inheritance becomes part of the financial settlement.

What happens to any debt we have when we divorce?

All debts will need to be considered when reaching a financial settlement. It likely that all debts will be considered ‘matrimonial’ irrespective of who built them up. It is only in extreme cases (excessive gambling etc.) where it may appropriate to ringfence debt and leave it to be paid off by one spouse alone.

Will I receive any of my spouse’s pension when we divorce?

Yes, unless you have a very short marriage. You should get specialist advice about pensions when divorcing as this can be complex to resolve. You can find more information about how pensions are treated on divorce here: A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce

Emergency Applications

In situations where there is concern about the dissipation or disposal of assets, our firm has successfully obtained freezing injunctions on short notice to protect and preserve assets. We also provide guidance to spouses facing such injunctions, helping them understand their options, including opposing or varying the orders as necessary.

Consent Orders

Recording any agreement reached with your spouse is crucial to ensuring its enforceability. Even if both parties agree on the division of assets, it is vital to have the agreement properly documented and turned into a court-approved consent order. Failure to do so could leave the agreement unenforceable. Our team at Edwards Family Law can assist you in drafting and securing a consent order to protect your interests.

By formalising your agreement within a consent order, you also prevent the possibility of future claims arising many years after separation, as has occurred in some cases. The court considers the length of time taken to bring a claim, but it can still make orders if the circumstances warrant it. Therefore, recording your agreement in a court-approved consent order is essential, and our team is well-equipped to guide you through this process.

Free Consultation

We offer a free 45-minute consultation to all qualifying individuals, who have complex cases and want to be represented by our leading family and divorce lawyers. After 45 minutes, please note that our time is charged at our hourly rates.

During a free consultation with our experienced divorce solicitors and family solicitors, you can expect a comprehensive discussion about divorce in the UK (England and Wales). We’ll walk you through the process of how to get a divorce, covering important topics such as the divorce application, laws on divorce and your financial rights and obligations following a divorce.

Our lawyers will provide insight into divorce law, including no-fault divorce, and help you understand the divorce process, including divorce filing and court proceedings. We’ll also discuss the cost of divorce, giving you a clear picture of what to expect financially. Our team of solicitors also can provide comprehensive legal guidance in issues such as child arrangements (also known as “child custody”), spousal support, and property division.

We’re here to assist you in every aspect of getting a divorce or family issue, making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re seeking advice on family arrangements or need guidance on a divorce consent order our experts in family law are here to help.

We endeavour to respond to all new enquiries within a few hours but sometimes with other commitments such as court hearings, that might not be possible. At most, we will get back to you within 24 hours. If you require urgent or immediate assistance, please contact the team by email contact@edwardsfamilylaw.co.uk, flagging the urgency and we will do whatever we can to assist, if proportionate and possible on the facts of your individual case.

Meet our Lawyers

Portrait of Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards

Managing Partner

With over 15 years experience in dealing with Complex Family Law matters, Kelly will be able to guide you through any aspect of your case with speed and ease.

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Joanna Blakelock

Partner

Joanna’s legal practice deals with all aspects of financial remedy, Schedule 1 applications, and prenuptial and post nuptial agreements.

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Sarah Hogarth

Senior Associate

Sarah advises clients on all aspects of family law, with a particular focus on resolving complex financial issues for high-net-worth individuals.

Chloë Ashman

Associate Solicitor

Chloë’s legal practice encompasses all aspects of financial remedy, Schedule 1, private children and prenuptial and post nuptial agreements.

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Charlotte Lanning

Associate Solicitor

Charlotte has a vast array of experience in all of the issues that can arise from relationship breakdown with a particular focus on complex financial matters, often with an international dimension

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Isobel Rarok

Associate Solicitor

Isobel is experienced in all aspects of divorce and dealing with High Net Worth and complex financial matters together with advising on pre and post nuptial agreements

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Kate Pooler

Associate Solicitor

Kate advises on all aspects of family law, including divorce, financial remedy, Schedule 1 Children Act cases, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, concerns around behaviour associated with relationship breakdown and all matters relating to co-parenting

Testimonials

Kelly Edwards has brilliant strategic oversight. She’s someone you want in your corner. Charlotte Lanning is incredibly clever and clients love her.

Legal 500
2024

The team at Edwards is ruthlessly efficient. They are very transparent with clients and it really pays off; clients know where they stand and are not given unrealistic expectations. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending them to personal friends.

Legal 500
2024

They are very professional. They provided clear explanation of processes, options and best possible course of action. Good communication. Highly recommended.

NN

I would highly recommend Edwards Family Law. Kelly & Charlotte's service, expertise and knowledge was first class. Really appreciate their advice with my case.

AD

Edwards Family Law provides an excellent service, personally I was in contact with Kelly Edwards, who is very friendly, understandable and punctual with her work. I would highly recommend this service for everyone who deals with family laws.

KS

I have recently used the services of Edwards Family Law and Kelly gave pragmatic advice and made what could have been a very stressful process, streamlined and straightforward. The process was handled diligently and this made for it being both less daunting and inexpensive.

AP

Kelly is great - compassionate but strong and fair in her advice. Can't imagine what a mess I would have been in without her. Excellent experience with Kelly! 

RM

Kelly Edwards is highly knowledgeable and experienced. I highly value her counsel and completely second the previous comment that describe her as 'pragmatic'. Kelly is very efficient, for a fee that is reasonable and fair. 

JS