Marital assets – who gets what on divorce

8th March 2015 by

Marital or matrimonial assets are generally considered to be anything a married couple acquires or receives, either by gift or purchase, during the time of the marriage.

Sadly, when relationship breakdown occurs, the financial settlement and division of marital assets are the most difficult, and often hotly disputed, parts of a UK divorce.

Here at Healys, our divorce solicitors aim to help clients negotiate this difficult time by offering pragmatic and straightforward legal advice to help them decide what their best options are in a divorce financial claim. When things are amicable we believe in conducting proceedings with mutual respect and a conciliatory approach. However, if such an approach is not successful or appropriate we will use our skill and experience as dedicated family lawyers to bring forceful litigation techniques to bear.

How the court handles marital and non-marital assets

Broadly speaking, a non-marital asset is money or property owned before the marriage or gained during the life of the marriage, but intended solely for one spouse, such as a specific gift or legacy.

This sounds fairly straightforward, but complications can arise when certain actions take place. For instance, if a wife receives an inheritance which is used to buy a house owned jointly by the couple, without specific wording on the purchase papers for the property the inheritance sum will become a marital asset as it has been used to buy a property for the family.

A court will aim to divide all marital assets fairly, and this could therefore see the wife leaving the marriage with half the value of her inheritance.

Although, most couples do not set out on their married life together thinking that the relationship will end in divorce, it pays to understand the difference between marital and non-marital assets and to talk about keeping them separate.

For many couples, this can be a difficult discussion to have, but if a spouse is able to prove to a court that granny’s piano has always been in the husband’s family, even though everyone listens to it and enjoys using it, a judge is more likely to ensure the husband keeps the piano as part of the divorce settlement.

Healys divorce solicitors are here for you

If you are considering applying for a divorce and you are worried about how the division of marital assets, our UK divorce solicitors can help by offering timely advice to ensure you get matters in order.

In some divorce financial settlements, especially those which are likely to be disputed, it pays to know what steps you should take to protect assets quickly and how you should prepare yourself and your financial matters.

Call Healys family law team today in either our London or Brighton offices and we can help guide you through all you need to know about divorce and financial settlement claims in the UK.