Factors that the Court considers when making financial settlements on divorce/dissolution
It is the duty of the Court, when considering if and how to exercise its powers under the divorce/dissolution law, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case.
In particular, here is a list of the criteria the Court (and solicitors) use in making (or advising on) a financial settlement into an order, under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Schedule 5 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004:
- The first consideration is given to the welfare of any child of the family who has not reached 18, whilst the child is still under 18.
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each spouse/civil partner has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity it would be reasonable to expect a spouse/civil partnerto take steps to acquire.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage/civil partnership has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage/civil partnership.
- The age of each party to the marriage/civil partnership and the duration of the marriage/civil partnership.
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the spouses/civil partners.
- The contributions which each of the spouses/civil partners has made or is likely to make to the welfare of the family in the foreseeable future, including any contributions made by looking after the home and caring for the family.
- The conduct of each of the parties if that conduct is such that it would be in the opinion of the Court inequitable to ignore it.
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity or dissolution, the value to each of the parties of any benefit which that party will lose the chance of acquiring on dissolution of the marriage/civil partnership.
- In appropriate circumstances, where a spouse/civil partner has or is likely to have a benefit under a pension scheme in the future, the Court has to consider whether it is appropriate to compensate the non-pensioner spouse/civil partner. A pensions attachment order or pension sharing are possibilities and are explained in our ‘pension arrangements when divorcing/dissolving a civil partnership’ fact sheet.
Click here for a detailed breakdown of how an application for financial orders, made to the Court, is dealt with.
This information is designed to be neutral and will be given to everyone to whom it is relevant. It is not designed to replace detailed legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. It is intended to help you identify some options which may be open to you. It is not for reproduction and may not be used in any other context.