What Are My Rights On Divorce?

By Claudia Price - 18th March 2021

When a marriage breaks down, as a spouse you have certain rights that are protected under law. Many people are unaware of this, which is why it’s important to get specialist legal advice as soon as you separate.

What are my rights?

Divorce isn't always straightforward. There's no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and depending on the complexity of matters, it can take time to sort out your finances and child care arrangements. During this interim period, many couples raise questions as to what they are legally entitled to as a spouse.

Below, we’ve explored some frequently asked questions, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities after separation.

Can I stay in the family home?

As a spouse you have a legal right of occupation in the family home. If the property is in your spouse’s sole name, you continue to have the right to occupy the property while you remain married, as you have ‘Matrimonial Home Rights’.

Your spouse cannot exclude you from the family home, even if it’s owned in their sole name. This includes changing the locks.

My spouse has stopped all financial support, what can I do?

If you were financially dependent on your spouse during the marriage, then your spouse is obligated to continue to provide support even after you separate. It is important that you get advice immediately to ensure that your reasonable needs are met between separation and the conclusion of your divorce settlement. Speak to our divorce law solicitors now if you are struggling.

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Do I have a claim over matrimonial assets?

Matrimonial assets are financial assets that are acquired within the marriage. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • The family home
  • Other property
  • Savings
  • Pensions
  • Inheritance
  • Investments
  • Contents of the family home
  • Vehicles

Matrimonial assets will be included in the 'matrimonial pot’, meaning they will be shared between you and your ex-spouse on divorce, in order to meet both parties financial needs.

Can non-matrimonial assets be taken into account?

Non-matrimonial assets are assets that have been acquired outside of the marriage. They are treated differently to matrimonial assets; however, they are not automatically excluded from the divorce settlement. If a windfall or inheritance is received before the marriage but is used during the relationship, this is then deemed to have been ‘mixed’ and will form part of the matrimonial pot.

Non-matrimonial assets will be addressed should the matrimonial assets fail to meet your needs, or the needs of the children.

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What will I get in the divorce settlement?

The Court will take into account what is fair and reasonable when looking to divide your assets. A decision is based on various factors, including:

  • The welfare of any children under the age of 18
  • The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family
  • The conduct of each of the parties

The Court will usually depart from an equal division to ensure fairness to both parties.

Do I have to disclose all of my assets?

Yes – you are required to provide full details of all your assets. Should you be found to have hidden or purposely dissipated assets, then you may be penalised by the Court.

Speak to our Family Law Solicitors

Every marriage is different and your legal rights will very much depend on your circumstances. Our Family Law Solicitors can carefully assess your situation and provide the relevant advice.

Call us on 0161 641 6100 for your free no-obligation initial appointment.

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