Judges have a wide discretion to decide how to divide assets on divorce. This can be very helpful as it allows the Judges to deal with each divorce on a case by case basis looking at all of the relevant factors but it can also cause a degree of unpredictability and uncertainty in disputed financial settlement cases. This is why we try to help our clients understand all of the principles in play and the factors the courts consider so that they can engage in informed negotiations, and hopefully reach an amicable agreement without the risk of court proceedings. Yet, if agreement proves impossible and a client has to go to court the fact that they will already fully understand that essential factors the court will consider will put them at a great advantage from the outset.
One of the key principles is the ‘sharing principle’. This means that matrimonial assets – those built up over the course of a marriage – will be divided or shared equally on divorce provided there is no good reason to depart from the principle. The idea of sharing assets equally is relatively straightforward to apply when we are considering long marriages where property and assets have been built up together. However, things are less clear when it is a short marriage or when one party has considerable pre-marital wealth or where there has been a long period of separation and wealth has been accumulated during that period of post separation. These are just some of the situations when it is crucial to understand how the courts will approach matters and what allowances or departures from equality will potentially be made.
At Paul Robinson Solicitors, we understand that dividing the assets as part of the divorce process can be a very complicated and stressful time. To book an appointment, please contact us on 01702 338338 or 01277 500123. Please note that we can facilitate appointments at our Westcliff, Benfleet, Billericay or Stratford offices.