Q. I recently moved out of the marital home. Although the home is in my wife’s name as she bought it following her first divorce, I have made considerable contributions by paying for bills, home improvements etc. Will I be entitled to anything from the home following our separation?
A: Much will depend on the length of your marriage and other assets, but in principle you do have some entitlement. The starting point for division of assets on any divorce is 50/50 but this balance can be altered either way depending on the individual circumstances of each case.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out what the court should consider, when deciding how to split the family assets. The first consideration, where there are minor children, will be the welfare of those children. The court will then consider the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources that each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future. This includes earning capacity and any increase in that capacity which, in the opinion of the court, would be reasonable to expect either of the parties to take steps to acquire in the future.
The court will also consider the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, along with the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage. In addition to these things the age of each party, length of the marriage and any physical or mental disability of either party will have a bearing. Similarly the contributions each party has made to the welfare of the family, or is likely to make in the foreseeable future, will be taken into account. This includes any contribution made in respect of looking after the home or caring for the family. Finally, the conduct of each party will be taken into account if the court considers it would be inequitable to disregard it.
Article March 2019