How to calculate a fair financial divorce settlement
The aim of this section is to provide a guide to what the law says about calculating a fair financial settlement. Although there are varies guidelines and benchmarks defined in Family Law and clarified by Case Law, it remains notoriously difficult to work out a precise settlement.
We offer two ways for you to get an indication of what a fair settlement should be:
The Court has wide sweeping powers in divorce, nullity and judicial separation proceedings to make a number of financial orders in favour of either party to the proceedings and/or for the benefit of any children of the family. The range of Orders include: lump sum Orders, property adjustment Orders, pension sharing/earmarking Orders (in the case of divorce or nullity proceedings), interim and/or final periodic payments Orders, and maintenance pending suit Orders.
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
When deciding what Orders to make, the Court has a very wide discretion. By Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, all the circumstances of the particular case must be taken into account and first consideration must be given to the welfare of any minor child of the family who has not attained the age of 18. Section 25 directs the Court to have regard to the following matters:
- 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 (including any benefits under a pension scheme which a party to the marriage has or is likely to have), including in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the Court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
- 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 if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the Court be inequitable to disregard it;
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.