What am I entitled to in a divorce settlement?

There’s no easy answer to this question, as most divorces have a large number of moving parts. Property and the family home, any business assets, pensions and investments are just a few of the things that will be taken into account. However, where the entitlement to each of these falls depends very much on the roles both partners have played in the marriage, whether there are children to consider and even the conduct of the parties.

Where do you start?

The best place to start is by taking legal advice on your divorce. This not only provides a degree of separation for the process, which can help to reduce the emotional tensions surrounding it, but will also give you an expert view on what you’re entitled to. The ideal solution for everyone is a ‘clean break’ – this will leave you with no financial ties to your other half. A Clean Break Order is essential for divorcing couples, as it clarifies the financial position on divorce and ensures that there is no opportunity for any kind of financial claim in the future.

How does the process work?

It’s worth remembering that a ‘fair’ divorce settlement won’t necessarily mean an equal split. However, aiming for a 50/50 division is often the best initial starting point. A solicitor will help you to divide the assets that you have into three main areas:

  • Pensions
  • Income (e.g. salary, income from rentals etc)
  • Capital assets (e.g. properties, savings, shares)

You can then look at the best way to split these into two. There will be a number of influencing factors to bear in mind when it comes to the split proportions for these assets. For example, you may want to make a trade of a proportion of pensions for a proportion of properties. Working with a solicitor can ensure that you find the right place to make the divisions and that the values are fair and accurate.

What else can influence the division of assets?

The welfare of children will have a significant impact on how a court would see assets should be divided and so this is important to take into account. For example, assets are unlikely to be split equally if children are to be living with one partner. However, children are not the only factor. For example, if one partner has given up a career to stay at home and care for children then they may be entitled to more from the divorce settlement as a result.

Is it better just to go to court?

The short answer is no. Battling over a financial divorce settlement in court can be incredibly costly for everyone involved, not just in terms of money but emotionally too. Whatever the assets you’re unable to agree on, they will most likely be reduced by the cost of arguing over them in court. It’s far better for divorcing couples to find agreement between them over the financial aspects of divorce – this paves the way for a smoother separation, as well as better relations in the future too.