When some people separate the finances are straightforward. This is particularly true if the marriage has been short.
There may not be much by way of assets, the house may be rented and there hasn’t been enough time to acquire either assets or debts.
If this is the case then any discussion about the finances should be simple and in the normal course of events the couple will either wait for one or two years to elapse and then proceed with a simplified divorce if there are no children under 16 or an Ordinary undefended divorce if there are children under 16.
Matters become more complicated if there is property or assets that have been acquired during the course of the marriage.
Before there can be any agreement as to how the matrimonial property is to be shared all the assets have to be identified and valuations obtained.
While most assets do fall into the description of matrimonial property. There are important exceptions which means that not everything goes into the pot.
The most common exception is an inheritance. If one party is left money or property by a deceased parent or other relative then that money or property does not automatically become a matrimonial asset, even though it is acquired during the marriage.
Similarly, if one spouse receives a gift from a third party that is not treated as matrimonial property either. (although gifts between spouses are matrimonial property).
Always remember, however, that if, during the course of the marriage, assets are purchased with monies received from inheritances or third parties those assets purchased become matrimonial property. In these situations there may be special circumstances which would justify unequal sharing of the matrimonial property.
Another important point to bear in mind is that when it comes to pensions, which are often one of the most valuable assets, particularly in longer marriages, it is not necessarily the total value of the Pension that has to be taken into consideration.
Only that part of the Pension that has accrued during the marriage is relevant and because of this, in many cases, there has to be an apportionment to make sure that the correct value is used. The same is true for life policies.
Because of these exceptions, in more complicated cases, the best idea is always to take the advice of an experienced Family Lawyer to avoid either giving away too much or receiving too little.