Dividing Your Assets in Divorce or Dissolution

It is always a difficult time when you are separating from your spouse or civil partner as you will have to divide your assets between you and potentially also agree on the arrangements for your children, which can feel overwhelming.

Part of the process for dividing the assets between you and your spouse or civil partner will include looking into the joint and sole assets you each hold and considering several factors set out in Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in the case of divorce or paragraph 21 of Schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for there to be a fair and reasonable division of your assets which meets each party’s financial needs.

Sealed consent order

Once an agreement has been reached, the terms are incorporated into a consent order which is prepared by a solicitor and sent to the court alongside brief financial information for a judge to approve and add the court seal. Once this has taken place, the sealed consent order will finalise all financial claims between you arising from the divorce or dissolution of the civil partnership. When the final order (or decree absolute under the old divorce law) has been pronounced, neither of you will be able to return to the other for more money in the future. It is therefore very important to have a sealed consent order prepared by a solicitor in place.

Consequences of no Sealed Consent Order

The case of Wyatt vs Vince [2015] UKSC 14 is an important reminder about sorting out your assets when you separate. In this case, the parties met in 1981 when Ms Wyatt already had a daughter. Mr Vince and Ms Wyatt married in December 1981 and had a son two years later. The parties divorced in 1992 but no sealed consent order was put in place concerning dividing the parties’ assets.

In 2011, Ms Wyatt made a financial remedy application to the court seeking the sum of £1.9million. At the time of the marriage the couple had very few assets. However, Mr Vince founded a wind energy firm in 1996 and he was worth c £107million at the time of her court application.

The court awarded Ms Wyatt a lump sum of £300,000 in full and final settlement of all her claims.

You should try to sort out things between you as soon as possible after separation in case your financial circumstances change in the future. This case highlights the need for a sealed consent order to be in place otherwise the other party can come back for money, which in this case resulted in a greater share of the assets than they would have had at the time of separation.

Thursfields Solicitors team of skilled Family lawyers can support you in various matters, including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, and asset division following separation, including the preparation of consent order documents. Reach out to our family law solicitors if you require assistance when separating from your spouse or civil partner, as navigating asset division and children’s arrangements can be daunting. Contact our family law solicitors at 0345 207 3728 or email us at info@thursfields.co.uk.

To find out more about our Divorce Financial Settlement services please visit Divorce Financial Settlement Solicitors | Thursfields Law Firm

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