How Are Assets Split in a Divorce

How assets are divided in a divorce can be one of the most daunting issues to deal with during a separation. People are often worried about what they may be entitled to and how difficult the process of deciding the division of assets will be. The good news is that, in most cases, it is possible to achieve a fair settlement voluntarily with the right legal support.

Exactly what you can expect from the division of assets in divorce will depend entirely on your unique circumstances. However, there are some general principles it is worth knowing about, so you can go in forewarned. While the following should not be taken as legal advice (and we always recommend speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible regarding your divorce), we hope that it will be helpful.

What am I entitled to in a divorce?

When it comes to dividing assets during a divorce, many people assume that they are entitled to a 50:50 split of all shared assets. While this is the starting point for splitting assets in divorce under the law in England and Wales, the reality is that the nuances of each individual case must be taken into account, so the actual division of assets may be different.

The basic principle is that any settlement needs to meet the reasonable needs of each spouse, as well as the needs of any children. If the matter comes before a court, there are various factors it will consider, including:

  • The income and earning capacity of each person
  • How long the couple were married
  • What contributions each spouse made to the marriage (both financial and non-financial)
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage

While splitting assets in a divorce can normally be achieved without resorting to court proceedings, it is worth keeping these factors in mind when negotiating a settlement. Knowing what a court might award can help to give you a sense of what is reasonable and realistic to expect from a settlement, boosting your chances of reaching an agreement.


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How to decide who gets what in a divorce?

When deciding how assets are divided in a divorce, you will either need to make a voluntary settlement with your spouse or apply to a court for a Financial Order, which means the court will decide how your assets are split.

If you are keen to reach a settlement voluntarily, then there are a number of different approaches you can take. Which makes sense for you will depend on the circumstances.

You may simply be able to agree with your spouse on what should happen, especially if your finances are relatively simple. If this is the case, you should still get a lawyer to look over the agreement for you to make sure it is fair.

If you need a bit more help to reach an agreement, then mediation is a popular choice. This means that you and your spouse will meet with a trained mediator who will act as a neutral third party to help you agree on splitting assets in your divorce. Any agreement you reach will then be recorded in a Memorandum of Understanding.

Where you are able to reach a voluntary agreement on how assets are split in a divorce, it is advised that you make this legally binding by applying to a court for a Consent Order. You should also apply for a Clean Break Order to prevent either spouse from making further claims against the other’s assets in future.

If you are not able to reach a settlement voluntarily, then you may need to apply to a family court for a Financial Order. This means the court will decide how your assets should be split. Each spouse will need to present their case for how they think the assets should be divided to the court, which will make a decision based on various factors, including those covered above.

If court proceedings are required, it is sensible to work with a family lawyer who has specific experience with these matters to give you the best chance of success.

Can I still make a claim against a former spouse’s assets after we are divorced?

It is normally advisable to sort out the division of assets in divorce before your divorce is finalised, however, if you did not do so, you may still be able to make a claim against your former spouse’s assets. This will depend on certain factors so we recommend to seek advice from a lawyer in this situation.

A Clean Break Order is a court order that legally cuts the financial link between two former spouses. If there is no Clean Break Order, then you will still usually be able to make a claim for a share of your former spouse’s assets, even if you divorced many years ago.

Splitting assets after a divorce can be complicated and contentious, but with the right legal support, it is often still possible to negotiate a fair settlement without the need for court proceedings.

How our experts can help with dividing assets in divorce

At JCP Solicitors, our family lawyers support clients across England and Wales with financial matters during divorce and separation. We can assist with both voluntary financial settlements and applications to a family court to determine the division of assets in a divorce.

The quality of our legal services is assured by our accreditation from the Law Society for Family Law Advanced. This provides independent recognition of our expertise and service standards. Our team also includes members of Resolution, the leading UK network for family lawyers, which reflects our belief in avoiding unnecessary conflict in family law situations.

If you are looking for high-level expertise on how assets are split in divorce, delivered with first-rate customer service, our team are here for you.

Contact us about asset division in divorce

To discuss an asset split in divorce, please contact your local JCP Solicitors office or use our contact form to ask a quick question or arrange a call back.