Thanks to a House of Lords ruling in 2000, courts are now only expected to “depart from equality” when there are convincing arguments to do so. However, this does not by any means guarantee that the matrimonial pot will always be divided equally. Indeed, the 50/50 convention should be seen more as a guideline than an imperative.
Splitting assets down the middle is generally considered to be fair for cases involving long marriages, or where halving the assets can reasonably be expected to provide both the husband and wife with sufficient means.
However, there are numerous scenarios in which it would be considered wholly inappropriate to divide assets equally. Below are some examples:
• Where assets are limited: If there are few assets and one partner has primary care of any children involved, it is highly likely that this partner will the lion’s share of the resources. In such cases, the needs of the children prove the determining factor
• Brief marriages: Where the marriage was very short, it may be deemed more appropriate to allocate resources in any divorce settlement on the basis of the partners’ respective needs. This is because there has been little time for the relative contributions with the marriage to equalise (e.g. financial contributions and homemaking contributions).
• Where assets are complex: If assets are tied up in a business for example, it may be difficult to raise a lump sum to be equally shared between the claimants. For that reason, these assets will often remain outside the matrimonial pot, or simply be divided unequally.
It is therefore important to be wary of the assumption that your 50% is guaranteed. Ultimately the division of your joint family assets will be highly dependent on your personal circumstances. That’s why it’s so important to get specialist divorce solicitors – you can rest assured that our family lawyers have the expertise you need. Divorce and family law is all they do.
Don’t forget we offer FREE phone advice and a FREE half hour appointment for all divorce and family law cases. Just call us today.