When it comes to divorce, family lawyers are the ones to help and most lawyers will tell you that when two people split up there is usually a great deal of bad feeling. While this can be expected, it doesn’t make fair division of assets easy or even very likely. If the two people cannot agree on the division of property or other assets, the court has to decide.
This is not the best way to deal with things, because it can take a long time to finalise and it will cost a great deal, but sometimes it is the only way. So what does a court take into account when deciding on how to split up the assets? It doesn’t simply divide them down the middle and give one half to each person. Other things are taken into account. These are usually: –
- What assets each person brought into the relationship
- The ability of each person to earn a wage after the divorce. For instance, the carer of small children may be unable to go back to work, or one partner may have become partly disabled due to injury.
- Whether the children would be better off remaining in the family home
- The value of any business interests
- The value contributed to the relationship by the person who stayed at home to care for children and do domestic duties
- Whether any other supportive duties such as farm work or bookkeeping, were carried out by the person who stayed at home
- Whether any inheritance or financial gift received by one person during the relationship should be divided, or if it should remain solely with the beneficiary
When the value of all these things has been decided, the court will then give what they consider a fair division of property and other assets to each of the parties involved. Since each divorce is unique, no one should think that they will get a similar amount that a divorced friend received.
The courts consider each case on its own particular merits to ensure total fairness, and both have to abide by the decision whether they agree with it or not. And if there is property but not much actual cash, some of it may have to be sold, both to pay the court costs or in order to allow one party to get their fair share.
Where there is a high net worth, individuals sometimes draw up a pre-nuptial agreement so that if they end up divorcing, there is no need for long and expensive court proceedings. While this does have some benefits, it also seems to show that the parties actually expect the relationship to end after a few years, which is a sad reflection on the state of society.