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Divorce, regardless of the marriage’s duration, entails significant financial disputes and concerns about children’s living arrangements, particularly if selling the family home is necessary.


How are assets divided in a Divorce?

In any financial case, the initial step involves determining the parties’ financial standing based on the s25 factors outlined in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The court’s primary concern is the welfare of any children under 18, emphasising the family’s pre-divorce standard of living. Following this, various factors such as resources, financial needs, standard of living, ages, length of marriage, disabilities, contributions, and post-divorce financial obligations are considered. Only in exceptional cases does the court weigh a party’s conduct.

It’s crucial to understand that unless it’s a very brief marriage with no children, the court typically starts with an asset split, with justification needed for seeking a different division, like 60/40 or 70/30. A marriage lasting less than five years is generally deemed short by family courts. In such cases, especially when there are no children involved, an equal distribution of assets acquired during the relationship is usually considered fair.

However, in short marriages, if assets were solely owned by one spouse before the marriage, they’re less likely to be split evenly. Instead, the spouse who owned the asset before marriage is more likely to retain it or receive a larger share of the overall matrimonial pot.

Additionally, the court exercises broad discretion by considering all the circumstances of the case. This discretion extends to assessing needs, compensating for relationship-generated disadvantages, and sharing marital partnership assets. For those divorcing after short marriages, the court evaluates children’s welfare and generously interprets parties’ needs, influenced by the marriage’s brevity. Cohabitation periods are scrutinised to gauge the relationship’s depth.

Whilst short marriages may entail fewer financial entitlements, especially if there are no children or shared finances, recent judicial trends underscore the importance of considering a marriage’s substance alongside its duration. Couples in short marriages should assess accrued wealth, understanding that non-matrimonial property is seldom shared. In such cases, settling to avoid prolonged litigation is often advisable.


Talk To Our Specialists

Our family law solicitors can provide guidance and support in navigating family and matrimonial legal matters and the financial complexities that can arise. It is always important and highly advisable to seek professional legal advice to ensure the best course of action for your circumstance. Talk to our specialist Family Law team via the links below.


Written by Aneta Kapron



This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

Aneta Kapron

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