The family home – how is property divided during a divorce?

8th March 2015 by

For couples considering a divorce or separation, the prospect of having to decide who gets what during proceedings can be particularly daunting and, without the right legal support and representation, coming to an agreement where finances are concerned can prove arduous.

Regardless of how long a marriage or civil partnership has lasted, joint finances are a reality for many separated couples, and sorting these amicably is an instrumental part of a divorce or formal separation. The division of the family home is a major concern for couples who wish to divorce and property is often considered the biggest and most important asset during proceedings.

Our London solicitors for property in divorce have the experience to provide you with the advice you need during this testing time. At Healys we assist husbands and wives throughout the capital, the home counties and beyond with the negotiation and drafting of agreements.

With our assistance, you can obtain the legal support that you need to resolve disputes surrounding property, finances and children.

How are property assets split during a divorce?

When a relationship comes to an end, it is up to both parties to come to an agreement regarding how assets should be split. If they cannot reach agreement a court will rule as to how the assets are divided.

The family home is often a bone of contention during proceedings, however, any agreement reached by the parties should ensure they are clear regarding living arrangements.

Once an agreement is reached, a consent order is then applied for to make this document and its terms legally binding.

What happens if we can’t agree terms?

Whilst not every divorce has to end up in acrimonious court hearings, many divorcing couples can simply not come to an agreement. If both parties can’t agree or one partner is seeking a lump sum payment, sole property ownership, regular maintenance payments or a proportion of the other partner’s pension, a financial order can be obtained from the court.

Mediation can be a useful tool for divorcing couples prior to applying for a financial order as this can help disputing parties come to an agreement before approaching the court.

Sometimes referred to as an ancillary relief order, a financial order sees the judge decide how assets should be split. The judge will assess a variety of factors to determine how assets should be divided amongst both parties, these factors include:

  • The length of the marriage or civil partnership
  • Ages of both parties
  • The property and money involved in the relationship
  • Living expenses of both parties, including analysis of their standard of living
  • Contribution to the relationship in terms of bringing in wealth and child rearing etc.

Seeking a ‘clean break’ via a financial order

Obtaining resolution and ensuring that both parties no longer have any financial ties to each other is always the preferred outcome. Any children involved in the relationship will be the judge’s main priority, and this is an influential factor in the division of property as well as the agreement of living arrangements and child maintenance – although any child maintenance disputes will be referred to the Child Maintenance Service (formerly the Child Support Agency).

Contact Healys today

The potential division of property and other assets is often far from clear cut, and it is recommended that you instruct an experienced solicitor to advise and represent you throughout your divorce. Whether you are able to come to an agreement mutually or need to apply for a financial order to get the settlement you feel you are entitled to, Healys can help.

For more information on the service we provide, please contact Jane Sanders on 020 7822 4107 or email in London. For Brighton enquiries, please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or email