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Needs Come First

You may have seen the recent press coverage of the ‘largest divorce payout’ ever made in the UK with over £543m Whilst it makes interesting breakfast time reading, for most divorcing couples these cases are a far cry from their reality.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to consider what happens for the average couple who are a far cry away from the rich and famous who have more than enough money to satisfy their needs but have the resources to go on to argue about things like ‘stellar contributions’ to obtain or retain a greater share of the matrimonial pot.

The starting point for the Court in any divorce case is an equal share of the marital assets for both parties. This can, of course, cause arguments about what assets constitute ‘marital assets’ but one guarantee is that the family home whether jointly owned or not, purchased before or after marriage is definitely a matrimonial asset which will be divided equally unless there are very good reasons not to.

For many families the outcome of financial remedy proceedings depends upon needs and fairness. The first consideration for the Court in any divorce case, as you would expect, are the needs, whilst minors, of any children of the family. They need a secure home with each parent. It follows that the Court will, in very many cases, be faced with the dilemma of how to divide one, often heavily mortgaged, home between two people.

Over the years creative solutions have been found to achieve a fair outcome to enable one party to move on  – perhaps with a deposit for an alternative home, allowing the other to retain the home until the children are older.

There are various outcomes which may come from divorce proceedings. For example, in some cases the leaving parent has to wait for their share of the property, others a maintenance claim is capitalised, sometimes there is a set off of other assets such as pensions and other times there is no other option but to sell the house.

It is tempting when reading the news reports of big money cases to assume 50/50 rules unless there is a ‘stellar contribution’ or an exceptional need. In reality few cases end up as a 50/50 split – if they did there would be no need for Family Courts to be involved in financial matters.

It’s important to remember that for most divorcing couples dividing the matrimonial home is not straightforward. At a time where emotions are high and the future may feel uncertain it’s vital to seek legal advice early on in order to maximise the chances of receiving the best possible outcome for you and your family. Our Divorce specialists would be more than happy to support you through your case using methods to resolve any issues as quickly and compassionately as possible. You can call us on 01212332042 or fill out a contact form where somebody will get back to you as soon as possible.

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