The question as to what each spouse entitled to from a divorce is an important one.
In the UK, divorce settlements aim to split the family’s assets and property as close to evenly as possible. While a 50/50 split will not always be the case as – there may be very specific reasons why one party may receive a bigger share than their spouse – one of the English and Welsh family courts’ primary aims is to find the fairest possible division of assets.
To reach the fairest split the court will consider considering factors including:
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living both parties were accustomed to during the marriage
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
Once these elements have been considered, a decision will be reached as to what financial settlements the lower earning spouse is entitled to. These will generally include:
1. Spousal maintenance
This is a regular payment that the higher earning spouse will pay to the other to cover their living expenses. The final amount and duration of maintenance depends on the monthly outgoings of the recipient, the earning capacity of each spouse and the length of the marriage.
The family home is often a family’s most valuable asset. It can, therefore, be a contentious issue in a divorce. If you and your wife cannot reach an agreement on how best to divide your property, the court may have to make the decision.
In many marriages, one spouse will likely have a larger pension than the other. If this is the case the court again will need to make the final decision as to how the pension should be divided and redeemed.
4. Lump-sum payment
In some cases, ongoing maintenance payments are not considered to be the best option. Instead, the court may order one spouse to pay a lump-sum payment to the other. The amounts will be based on both their financial needs and the total assets involved in the divorce.