The Court may exclude certain assets from being shared with their spouse if it can be shown that they are ‘non matrimonial’ (attained either before the marriage or post separation). Establishing assets as non-marital can be key in many cases, particularly short marriages and can result in a significant shift from an equal division between the parties. The Court of Appeal decision of Hart & Hart has reminded all family law solicitors that “non matrimonial” assets can be excluded from being shared, regardless of the length of marriage.
There is however, no guarantee that just because an asset was attained pre or post marriage, it will automatically be ring-fenced by the Court. The Court’s priority before considering whether certain assets should be exempt is to ensure that both parties’ financial needs are met. If the financially weaker party’s needs cannot be met from marital assets alone, the Court would have no hesitation in utilising non-matrimonial assets to address the issue.
Determining a party’s needs and assessing whether assets should be exempt is often an issue of significant debate and contention. Specialist advice can be key in securing the right outcome.
Our specialist Family Law Solicitors can advise you on all aspects of divorce including the splitting of assets. For more information, or to book an introductory appointment, please speak to Andrew Foulds.