Separation, Divorce and Division of Assets - What you need to know

  • Author: Gemma Thew
  • Posted on: 19th July 2021
  • Posted in: Blog

Separation, Divorce and Division of Assets

When a married couple consider divorce or an unmarried couple with children are considering separation, one of the most emotive aspects can be the division of assets. It can be understandably painful to untangle lives that have been intertwined over many years and the possessions that have been accumulated over that time. Moreover, both parties will be keenly aware that this division of assets will affect their quality of life in future, particularly when it comes to living arrangements.

To help smooth the process as much as possible, it is key to understand and have a realistic picture of the following subjects so you can calculate what each party will need from the common pool of funds/assets.

The funds available

Hopefully, both parties will have a clear understanding of the value of the total pool of assets including any current properties, savings and investments. If not, now is the time to be clear and completely transparent. If it is discovered that either party is hiding assets they may be penalised by the court either by having to pay the other person’s legal costs or receiving a poorer settlement than they might otherwise have done. If this is discovered after a settlement the court may reopen the case and make significant changes to their original decision. Once there is clarity on the funds available you can start understanding the options open to you in practical terms.

Location, location, location

There will be all of the usual things to consider when looking at any change in living arrangements eg. Proximity to new/existing schools and workplaces, local amenities and transport links. Furthermore, you may need to consider if it is feasible, or perhaps even preferable, to live in different towns.

If there are children involved where will they live, who will they live with and when will they be there

This will need to allow for the locations of your new homes, details of your “regular” daily/weekly/monthly schedule, including arrangements for both term-time and school/public holidays. You will also need to allow for the time the journeys between the separate homes will take as well as any travel costs that will be incurred.

What this means in terms of housing requirements

This not only relates to the minimum number of bedrooms of each property but also whether garden space will be required. Hopefully, the total pool of assets will cover two properties (or retention of the current family home and purchase of another home) which fulfil all of the desired criteria but in reality, this may be where you need to compromise in order to get the best “fit” possible.

How best to navigate compromise

Where possible treat each other as business partners. As in every business agreement, a successful negotiation is one where both parties are happy with the result. This avoids any future discord so that you can concentrate on making a success of your lives, and those of your children together as a new family unit built on mutual respect and cooperation.

The key to coming to a successful arrangement will be to decide what is essential, what is preferable and what is “nice to have”. Remember that compromise, although tricky, may be the easiest, quickest and cheapest route to long-term happiness.

To discuss the likely division of property and other financial assets on the breakdown of a marriage or other relationship, and to be better placed to make informed decisions moving forward at the earliest possible opportunity, please call and speak to our highly experienced family law solicitors. Crosby & Woods Solicitors can be contacted on 01273 734 600 or email advice@crosbywoods.co.uk