Divorce is a daunting prospect. Anxiety is heightened by fear of the unknown and worry for the future. With this is mind, it may help to have an idea of the approach the courts take when considering finances in divorce.
What will the courts consider?
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 helpfully lists the courts’ considerations.
Under section 25 (1) of the Act, the first consideration will always be the welfare of any child under 18 years.
Under section 25 (2), the court will then consider:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The standard of living enjoyed before the marital breakdown.
- Each person’s ages and the duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability of either person.
- Contributions made, and to be made, in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
- The conduct of each person, if that conduct is such that it would be unjust to disregard it.
- The value of any benefit one will lose the chance of acquiring as a result of the divorce.
Do the courts favour the wife in financial decisions?
It is a common misconception that financial provision in a divorce favours the wife. There is no starting presumption that the wife should be given a greater financial provision than the husband, however application of the above list may result in a tipping of financial provision in the wife’s favour if she has stalled a career to care for children, is less able to improve her position by increasing her income or has a poorer pension provision than her spouse.
Ultimately financial provision in a divorce is a balancing act. The courts aim to ensure both parties can financially manage in the future.
For more information on the courts’ approach to finances in divorce, please contact Anita Scorah in our Family Law team on 01625 442123.