In a divorce, both parties should get a ‘fair share’. Only 28% do.

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Last month a major research study on divorce was published. The Fair Shares Project gives a picture of the financial arrangements people make when they divorce in England and Wales. It’s an interesting read – if you’re considering divorce, it might be worth a look. Here’s what caught our eye.

Only 28% of divorcees reported receiving around half of the total assets. Half was considered to be between 40% and 59%. The vast majority shared out their assets unequally.

Reasons for this were multiple and varied, but the authors flagged up a lack of financial and legal knowledge in their assets and their ex-spouse’s. 37% did not know the value of their own pension pot. 23% said they did not understand the type of pension they had. 10% of homeowners said they didn’t know what equity they had in the house on divorce.

The Fair Shares Project also looked at the financial arrangements made through solicitors or with a court order: these were considered fairer.

Family lawyers encourage full financial disclosure to create a detailed understanding of the financial landscape. Solicitors ask the right questions, from which, they can make informed decisions and negotiate a fair settlement agreement.

The majority of divorcees – 62% – incurred costs in trying to sort out their finances on divorce, but the amounts spent were relatively modest. 24% spent less than £1,000, 18% had costs between £1,000 and £2,999 and 9% incurred costs of £10,000 or more (albeit the assets divided were much higher).

Getting good legal advice is essential in creating a financial agreement that works for both parties. It may reduce the total amount of assets – albeit by not as much as you might think – but the allocation of the assets is likely to be a great deal fairer.

The Fair Shares Project: bristol.ac.uk/law/fair-shares-project/

AWB Charlesworth, Personal Legal Advice & Family Law

For more information, contact Rachel Davies on 01756 692877 or email rachel.davies@awbclaw.co.uk

29 November 2023

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