How Are Assets Divided In Divorce?

If you are going through or thinking of getting a divorce then the issue of dividing financial assets will undoubtedly be at the forefront of your mind. There can be a great deal of complexity in asset division, we cover some of the basics for you in this article.

What assets are included in a divorce?

If you can reach an agreement on finances with your former spouse then neither party will need to issue Proceedings. When this is not possible, you can hire solicitors to help you resolve any differences with the option of going to Court being a final option.

In Section 25 of the Matrimonial Clause Act 1973, there are a number of guidelines that pertain to both the English and Welsh Court systems and how financial assets such as pensions, maintenance payments, savings, and property should be dealt with. A key point to remember is that when children are involved in a divorce this will have a significant impact on how assets are ultimately divided. Also, although it can be helpful as a rough guide, looking at how other peoples’ divorces were dealt with is not always a good indication of how yours will be concluded – the Courts have a very broad scope for decision making with no two cases the same.

How are assets divided?

In line with the Act, there are several factors the Courts will need to bear in mind when it comes to making decisions on financial assets, including:

The current standard of living held by the family prior to separation

How each partner contributes to the overall welfare of the family (this includes providing child care and caring for the joint home)

The current incomes, potential earnings, and property owned by each of the parties now and in the  future

How old each of the parties is and the length of the marriage

What financial obligations, requirements, and responsibilities exist for each of the parties now and in the future

If there are any disabilities, physical or mental that either party has

What do Courts have the power to order in a divorce settlement?

A divorce settlement can be finalised through the Courts with one of the following kinds of Court orders:

Courts can order either a lump-sum payment or a series of payments from one spouse to another in what’s known as Financial Remedy Proceedings.  

The Court is able to order the sale or transfer of any property the parties own. They can also order how the proceeds should be divided.

They can also order for any pension policies to be divided between parties. The amount ordered is dependent on other factors within the financial settlement. 

In some cases, spousal maintenance can be ordered with one party paying the other maintenance until a future change in circumstances, for example, remarriage, or for a set amount of time. Where  this is not appropriate, the Court will make a Clean Break Order.

Regarding child maintenance payments, the Courts possess only limited powers. If the level of child          maintenance cannot be agreed then this is dealt with by an application to the Child Maintenance                Service.


Each divorce case is different with a large number of variables. The Court is duty bound to be flexible for each case and look at the specific circumstances of both and with the aim of being as fair as possible in all cases. Divorce doesn’t always mean a 5050 split but as close to it as possible with the unique assets you have in your case.


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