The Court considers the yardstick of equality when sharing matrimonial assets. Assets which have accrued during the marriage are usually shared. The fact that a spouse has savings or property held in his or her sole name does not necessarily mean the assets can be ring-fenced from divorce proceedings.
Even assets owned in one spouse’s sole name and accrued prior to the marriage (possible non-matrimonial assets) can be taken into account by a court in the event the assets of the marriage are insufficient to meet needs.
The court considers all of the assets of the parties divorcing to include pre marital, marital and those held jointly or solely. The court will then considers the needs of the parties and any children of the family by considering the Matrimonial Causes Act, which sets out various factors to be considered to include:
- Financial Resources
- Earning Capacity
- Financial Needs
- Obligations and responsibilities now and in the future
- Standard of living enjoyed by the parties
- Length of the relationship
- Any disabilities, health issues.
- Contributions to the marriage.
A party who has brought much of the assets to the marriage can raise issues regarding their contribution but the Court’s primary concern is ensuring the parties’ needs are met together with those of any children of the relationship.
Marrying couples should consider trying to protect pre martial assets with the use of a pre or post nuptial agreements and trusts.
We recommend you obtain early legal advice so that you can fully understand all of the relevant factors that will be taken into account upon your separation/divorce.
Contact one or our Family team here to see how our specialists can assist you.