When a marriage breaks down, the process of determining who gets what isn’t always a smooth one, and is often the biggest cause of concern and stress. Read on for a simplified guide to splitting assets in a divorce, and always ensure you consult a solicitor to help with the process.
Where Do You Start?
Going through a divorce is difficult enough as it is, but it can get very complicated if there aren’t agreements in place for how your assets will be divided.
When it comes to the question of ‘how are assets divided in a divorce’, there is unfortunately no one answer. Whether there have been discussions and agreements put in place or not, you will need the help of a professional solicitor to help you settle your divorce, as well as emotional support from family and friends. This will likely be the first step, ensuring you have a professional and personal support system behind you, to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.
But what next? Let’s look into the different assets involved, and explore further how this works.
What Do Matrimonial Assets Include?
If you’re going through a divorce yourself, this term is likely not a new one for you. Matrimonial assets are normally joint assets that have been acquired during the course of your marriage – this covers everything from a home with shared ownership (and its contents), to your vehicles, savings and pensions.
What are Non-Matrimonial Assets?
These include anything you owned before the marriage or after separation, and generally aren’t included in a divorce settlement. There are exceptions to this, and each client’s circumstances will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
How Does the Process Work?
The first step in the process of dividing assets in divorce is working out the total value of all your matrimonial assets, or the ‘yardstick of equity’, as it’s better known.
There is no set method for dealing with a divorce – every situation is different and requires a unique approach.
Having said this, the assets you will need to consider during a divorce asset split do often fall into categories. We will explore these categories below.
For most people – your main and most valuable asset. This is often the most important thing to come to an agreement on in a divorce, but again there is no set answer as to who gets the family home.
Generally speaking, your home should be split 50/50 between the two parties, however it’s not always as simple as this.
The first, and simplest, method of dividing a marital home is that the property is sold and the equity divided between the two parties.
If you and your marital partner have children, the agreement could also be made where one parent continues to live in the home with the children until they have finished full time education, and then the home would need to be divided equally.
The other option is that one person keeps the home, and essentially buys the ownership from the other party. This would require the new sole owner to continue the mortgage payments (if you still have a mortgage), as well as paying out the lump sum to the other partner.
Note: Other options of splitting a marital home may be possible, and it is important to speak to a solicitor to help with this process.
Contents of Your Home
Whether you are selling your home or one party is keeping the marital home, dividing the contents can often be an issue between divorcing partners.
There are a few ways you can deal with this:
Option 1: The main contents of the home (furniture, appliances etc.) are sold along with the house, and then divided equally.
Option 2: The contents can be divided so you each have what you need to set up separately.
Option 3: The person who keeps the home also keeps all the contents. The other partner will often be owed more money from the divorce as a result.
If you’re splitting the contents of your home in a divorce and need somewhere to store furniture and other items whilst you’re finding and setting up your new home, you may want to look at storage options near you. At ANVSJ, we offer self storage containers around South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire – find your nearest storage units here.
Whether you’re going to each keep your own pension or split the value, this is another asset you need to consider when going through a divorce. If your pensions are split, this isn’t necessarily divided equally, as it can compensate for things like one person having a smaller pension due to not earning as much, or to make up for the fact that one partner is going to be keeping the house or other assets.
What happens if you suspect your partner has assets they haven’t disclosed? Your solicitor will be able to advise on the best approach to deal with this, whether it’s contacting their bank or HMRC regarding their accounts, freezing their account to stop them disposing money, or looking into whether money has been transferred to family or friends to hide it in the divorce.
Exploring Different Approaches to a Divorce Asset Split
As mentioned above, for each asset there are different ways it can be split depending on your circumstances and preferences. Having a reliable solicitor will be key for ensuring assets are divided fairly, so consult them with any questions you have regarding the process.
Going Through a Divorce Yourself? See How We Can Help
Where does ANVSJ fit into this? We provide affordable, secure and clean self storage units – taking the stress out of finding somewhere to store your assets (such as furniture and other belongings) whilst you’re in the process of getting divorced and sorting a place to live. Find more information on pricing and locations for our self storage units on our website, or get in touch with our friendly team on 01709 701155if you need further assistance.