What are you Entitled to in a Divorce?

what are you entitled to in a divorce

Getting a divorce means figuring out how to divide your assets. There’s no simple formula for what you’re entitled to – every situation is unique. While couples often start by aiming for a 50/50 split, things like income, individual needs, and the length of the marriage can all change the final outcome.

What to Think About Before Saying “Yes” to a Settlement

Before you agree to a divorce settlement, make sure you fully understand a few key things. 

First, take stock of your assets and debts. List everything you own individually or jointly, including property, savings, and investments. Also, list everything you owe, like mortgages, loans, and any other outstanding debt.

Next, consider pensions. These are often overlooked, but they can be extremely valuable assets. Get expert valuations to determine their true worth. Additionally, your current income and your potential to earn money in the future will affect the settlement.

Finally, if you or your spouse own a business, that needs to be factored into the settlement fairly. Consider getting a professional business valuation to understand its accurate worth.

What Makes a Settlement “Fair”?

There’s no magic formula to determine what’s fair in a divorce settlement.  To get a sense of fairness, it’s essential to have accurate valuations of all your assets.  Don’t underestimate the worth of things like pensions, and don’t overestimate how much ready cash you might get from assets like property.  Getting professional valuations when needed will help you get a realistic view.

Remember that different assets have different values and accessibility. A house isn’t instantly available cash, and investments can fluctuate in value.  Avoid getting fixated on specific items and instead focus on the total value of everything you own as a couple. 

A fair settlement means taking a step back and looking at the overall picture.

How Do You Figure Out the Settlement?

While every case is different, there are a few key things that influence how a settlement is reached, whether you negotiate it yourselves, work with a divorce solicitor or a court decides:

Your Priorities

Your individual needs matter. Someone nearing retirement will have different priorities than a younger parent focused on housing for their children. This shapes how assets are split.

Factors to Consider

These will guide your negotiations and would also be considered by a court. They include:

  • The full scope of your assets
  • Whether assets are “matrimonial” (acquired during marriage) or not
  • Each person’s earning potential
  • Individual needs, both now and in the future
  • The needs of any children
  • How long you were married
  • Contributions (financial and otherwise) made during the marriage

How Are Assets Typically Split?

The way assets are divided depends on your individual situation. A key factor is whether they are considered “matrimonial” (acquired during the marriage) or “non-matrimonial” (acquired before). Here’s an overview of how common assets including the family home, are typically handled:

The Family Home

  • Sell and Split: The proceeds are divided between you.
  • Buy-out: One spouse buys out the other’s share.
  • Joint Ownership with Deferred Sale: You both still own it, but one person lives there. It’s sold later, and the proceeds are split.

Pensions

  • Offsetting: One person takes a larger share of other assets to balance out their smaller pension.
  • Sharing: The pension pot is split, and a portion is transferred into a separate pension for the other spouse.
  • Attachment: (Less common) One spouse receives a portion of the other’s pension income after retirement.

Businesses

  • Valuation: Getting an accurate business valuation is essential.
  • Offsetting: Value of the business is balanced against other assets.
  • Sharing Ownership: The non-owning spouse gets a share of the business.
  • Selling: The business is sold, and proceeds are divided.

Other Things to Consider

Dividing household possessions, like furniture and appliances, can often become a point of contention.  Try your best to reach an agreement directly with your spouse to avoid unnecessary court costs and emotional distress. Remember, fighting over material items might end up costing more than their actual worth.

Children’s needs are paramount in any divorce settlement.  Their housing, education, and overall well-being must be prioritised when determining how assets are divided.


“The most sensitive and challenging aspect of any relationship breakdown is establishing the future arrangements for children. On parties separation, tensions are high and therefore you must seek legal advice early on. It may be that we can assist by negotiating contact/residence or if matters cannot be agreed issue a Child Arrangement application for the court’s intervention. However you wish to proceed, we are here to assist.” –  Harpreet Saund, Head of Family RLK.

While it’s technically possible to navigate a divorce settlement without a solicitor, it’s incredibly risky. The financial aspects of divorce are complex. An experienced divorce solicitor can help you understand your rights, protect your interests, and potentially make the entire process less stressful.

Where to Get More Help

Our experienced divorce team at RLK Solicitors can provide the tailored advice and support you need. We understand the complexities of divorce settlements and can help you navigate the process to secure a fair outcome. Contact us to learn more about our services.

If you reach an agreement with your spouse, our lawyers can help formalise it with legally binding consent orders. They can also assist with clean break orders to ensure a clean financial separation for the future.