All is fair in love and war. Apparently.
So when it comes to the divorce process and settlement agreements, splitting all assets and debts down the middle sounds like it would be the fairest solution.
This can be the case in some instances, but not all. Just like no two people are alike, not all situations in divorce are the same.
But what all needs to be taken into account?
Matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets
Matrimonial assets or community property is usually what is up for debate in divorce settlements. Matrimonial assets are all the things you or your spouse acquired together during the marriage.
The two largest matrimonial assets are usually the family home and either party’s pension. But these can also include:
Contents of the house such as furniture
Other real estate properties
Savings accounts and banked cash
Stocks and investments
Non-matrimonial assets or separate property, on the other hand, consists of everything either party owned before the marriage. This can also include inherited items and gifts.
Fair is not always equal
Finances and property acquisition are tricky subjects at the best of times. After each individual’s financial status has been laid out on the table in full detail, there are many other factors that need to be considered such as:
each individual’s needs when it comes to housing, income and available resources
what the standard of living was before separation
the age of each party
the length of the marriage
if there are any disabilities
contributions made by each individual to the family, such as caring for children
any assets and whether they were owned or inherited before getting married
The main reason it is not always fair to split everything 50/50 is because each person’s situation after the divorce is likely to be very different.
An example of this is if one party is the primary carer of any dependent children. Understandably, their need is likely to be greater in terms of housing and income than the other party. This parent is also likely to have limited earning and mortgage capacity due to taking care of the children, leading to needingmore of the assets.
All things considered, this is clearly not a cut and dry subject.There are many factors that need to be thought about carefully.
As it is with most things in the divorce arena, it is best to get some professional advice from a family divorce lawyer rather than going it alone. There is plenty of advice available out there – on the internet and from friends and family – but not all of it is verified.
And even if it is, it may not apply in your specific situation.
In these times that encourage self-sufficiency, it may be wiser to ask for the help and support you need in navigating through a stressful time such as this.
Please feel free to get in touch with us about your unique situation. We would be happy to guide you through the process.