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Information about financial issues ancillary to a divorce and property

There are different types of money issues when you divorce:

  • Income or maintenance issues;

  • Capital eg. your house, savings, shares;

  • Pensions  

The burning questions for most people will be “what will I get” or "what will I have to pay".

There is unfortunately no magic formula for this and it is not simply a case of arithmetic.

Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out a checklist of things which a Court has to take into account when asked to make decisions about how matrimonial assets, income and pensions should be divided up.

This checklist includes your age and the age of your spouse, your children and any special circumstances they may have in terms of health or disability, your respective financial positions now, what they might be and your financial needs in terms of re-housing.

In most cases, the Court carries out a balancing exercise of available income, capital, pensions and needs of yourself and your spouse and any children. 

There is often more than one answer, and Court’s work in terms of bands of reasonableness. For this reason, you should not assume that information that a friend or relative gives you about their own experience of divorce or separation will apply to you.

Family mediation can help couples come to amicable decisions about how possessions should be shared, and also help with any issues surrounding children which may be preferable to allowing the court to decide.

Circumstances differ between couples and families when they divorce and each set of circumstances affects the checklist of things which the Court takes into account when deciding how money should be divided up and therefore what you may get.  Help from friends and family may be given good heartedly, but is likely to be misleading and can give you unrealistic expectations of what you can achieve.

If you do reach an agreement about money when you divorce it is strongly advisable that the agreement is approved by the Court as a clean break order to protect you financially in the future.