What am I entitled to when I get divorced?

What am I entitled to when I get divorced? This is a common question that our team is frequently asked by clients. The difficulty with this question is that in the first instance, the answer is not straightforward. The answer is down to the circumstances of each situation.

When it comes to the financial aspects of a divorce, working out what assets are in the marital pot is often the appropriate starting point to then go on to calculate each spouse's entitlement.

There are various factors that will be taken into account when dividing assets. These factors are known as the "Section 25 factors" and they are listed within the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.


What is meant by the marital pot?

In every marriage, the finances can be dealt with differently from one to the next. In some cases, there might be one person that deals with the marital finances on a regular basis and therefore has a good grasp on what there is whereas another spouse may not have any idea.

It is therefore important that both individuals are aware of what assets and liabilities there are as this will become the starting point for division. You can expect that ultimately there will be a spreadsheet of your assets and liabilities which includes everything whether or not they are in your sole names or your joint names.

A very common issue between spouses is not being able to agree with the figures and valuations. Sometimes, there is also a problem that figures are not even disclosed and they should be!

In some cases, spouses do not agree the figures and valuations put to certain assets. A very common dispute arises in relation to the valuation of properties, business interests and pensions.

We can help you get to the bottom of the value of your marital pot in order to discuss division and strategy with you.

What is the Section 25 factors?

This is a list that the court will consider when making decisions about your finances.

These factors are:

  • Income and earning capacity, property and other financial resources that each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities, which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
  • The ages of each spouse and the duration of the marriage.
  • Any physical or mental disability of either spouse.
  • The contributions that each spouse has made or is likely to make in the future to the welfare of the family.
  • The conduct of each spouse, if that conduct is such that it would be unfair to disregard in the opinion of the Court.
  • The value to each spouse of any benefit that one spouse would lose because of the divorce.

First though comes the welfare of any children or the family. An example of this is their 'needs', for example, where the children will live.

In most cases, needs will be the main issue and will take precedence over all other factors. This is because the court can adopt the principle of needs. In other cases, the court may adopt the principle of sharing or compensation.

Section 25 factors; what's next?

The starting point is an equal division and you may be able to use the above factors to say that you require more than the equal share of the assets.

We recommend that you get expert and specialist advice from our team to discuss this further. There will be a lot to think about in terms of the claims that you have as a married individual, for example, what income you have or will have in the future, what provision you may or may not have or may need to make for children of the family, what happens with property within the martial pot, what happens with any business interests involved, what is your pension provision for the future and what are the relevant tax implications involved in your situation.

In addition to this, there may be other considerations to take into account such as pre-marital assets i.e. assets acquired before your marriage or post-martial assets i.e. assets acquired after your separation.

Key contacts

Please do not hesitate to contact our team for further assistance: