Assets and Divorce: Who gets what?

While starting a marriage is an incredibly exciting time, you must always be prepared in case your relationship breaks down. It’s so important to fairly divide and share your assets in a divorce, including any savings, pensions, and inheritances.

In this article, we’ll be discussing how assets are shared in marriage and divorce, as well as the importance of understanding your financial rights in both instances.

What happens to your assets when you marry?

Matrimonial assets are financial assets that you and/or your partner have acquired during your marriage. Non-matrimonial assets are acquired before you get married or after a divorce.

Matrimonial assets usually include things such as the family home, savings, and pensions. When you marry in England and Wales, any assets you acquire during marriage belong to both you and your partner.

Matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets are important when it comes to divorce or separation. That’s because you and your ex-partner will need to divide these assets between you. There’s no set rule as to how your assets are divided, but the typical starting point is 50/50.

How to protect your assets with a prenup/postnup

Prenuptial agreements (or prenups) outline the ownership of any assets before the start of your marriage. This can help protect and set out your financial rights following the breakdown of a relationship.

The contract is drawn up in a formal, written document, but is not legally binding. You can seek the help of a specialist family law solicitor to help you draft the agreement. They can offer you support and guidance, helping you navigate the complexities that come with discussing finances with your partner.

Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenups, but they occur after the wedding. They offer the same level of protection and clearly outline the ownership of any assets. A postnup can be made at any point during your marriage, and can also be used to make provisions for the future.

Your assets during divorce

You should consider assets and incomes separately when it comes to divorce. If you separate without addressing your financial affairs in a court order, your spouse may be able to claim any assets that rightfully belong to you.

Pensions can be shared based on value or income. They are usually split based on income if you and your partner are approaching retirement age. While your pension may be split equally, you can request for this to be adjusted if either of you don’t believe this is fair.

The same goes for savings, investments, and property. It’s recommended to get a financial agreement that clearly states how your matrimonial assets will be divided. If you agree with your ex-partner on how to divide your assets, you will need to apply for a consent order to make it legally binding.