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Marriage breakdown: Who gets what?

Marriage breakdown can come about for a wide range of reasons. For some, marriage breakdown occurs as a result of money problems. For others, it may be that marriage breakdown happens because one party has had an affair.

There’s no escaping the fact that marriage breakdown can take its toll, both emotionally and financially. Understanding how your assets may be divided, can help you to take control and plan for a future without your spouse.


Marriage breakdown: who gets the house?

What will happen to the family home following a marriage breakdown is often the biggest concern.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ legal formula that you can use to find out whether you or your spouse will get to keep the family home.

How your assets will be divided will depend on your (and your spouse’s) circumstances.

If you need to ask a court to decide who will get the family home following your marriage breakdown (more on this later), the court will consider everything from the value of your assets, to the overall needs of both you and your spouse, when making its decision.

The court has the power to make a variety of different orders with regards to the financial settlement following marriage breakdown. For example, it may order that the house should be transferred from one spouse to the other, or that the house should be sold when a specific event takes place (such as when the youngest child reaches adulthood).

Marriage breakdown


Marriage breakdown: agreeing a financial settlement

Although it is important to understand how the courts could divide your assets upon divorce should they be asked to do so, court should usually be viewed as a last resort.

Asking a court to decide your financial settlement following your marriage breakdown, can be both costly and time-consuming.

Reaching an agreement with your spouse may not only save you time and money, but it could also help you to avoid the conflict which can often stem from confronting each other in a court scenario.

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse about who should get what, there are other options that you could consider before involving the courts, including mediation and collaborative law.


Marriage breakdown: seek legal advice

It’s highly advisable to get independent legal advice from a solicitor following a marriage breakdown, before entering into negotiations with your spouse. This way, you should fully understand your rights – and have an idea of what a fair division of your assets in the eyes of the law may look like – before you begin discussions.

If you do reach an agreement with your spouse, you may want to get your arrangement made into a legally binding court order. A divorce solicitor should be able to advise you on how to go about this.

The weeks and months following a marriage breakdown can be challenging. Seeking legal advice early on, can help you to understand what to expect, so you can start planning for the future.


Other articles that may be of interest to you?

How long does a divorce take?

What is the divorce process?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

Decree Nisi – What does this mean in a divorce?

What are the first steps to divorce?


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with getting a divorce

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to getting a divorce, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on getting a divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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16th January 2020

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