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What is the starting point for division of assets in divorce?

I am often asked what is the starting point for division of assets in divorce. The answer is, there is no strict formula for dividing assets and each case is considered individually taking into account each couples circumstances. The court aims to achieve a fair and equitable financial settlement between the parties in a divorce.  

The following factors are taken into account when determining the division of assets:

  • Financial Needs: The court considers the financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities of both parties, including housing, income, and any financial support needed for children. 
  • Standard of Living: The standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage is considered. The court aims to ensure that both parties can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce. 
  • Contributions: The financial and non-financial contributions of each party to the family are considered. This includes contributions to the home, the care of children, and any sacrifices made for the family. 
  • Duration of the Marriage: the length of the marriage is a factor, with longer marriages generally leading to a more equal division of assets.
  • Age and Health: The age and health of each party are considered, especially if one spouse has specific needs or is at a different stage in their career or life. 
  • Earning Capacity: The court takes into account the earning capacity, financial resources, and future financial prospects of both parties. 
  • Non-Matrimonial Assets: Assets acquired before the marriage or received as gifts or inheritances may be treated differently, with a potential argument for them both to be excluded from the shared assets. 

It is important to bear in mind that the court has a broad discretion in making financial orders and there are no fixed rules as to what percentage of the assets each party should retain. The aim is to achieve a fair outcome based on the specific circumstances of each divorcing couple.

Please contact Denise McCabe for specialist help and advice in all aspects of family law at, or call us today on 01905 723561.

Added: 15 Jan 2024 12:58

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