What will I get? You and your spouse will have financial claims against one another resulting from your marriage. This can be by way of lump sum, pension sharing or maintenance. In calculating the assets to be divided, the ‘matrimonial pot’ will consist of all joint and sole assets held by each of you. When financially separating from one another, the Court will always pay regard to what is fair and reasonable. The Court will try to ensure that the decision to divorce should not impact detrimentally upon the standard of living enjoyed by either party, or their ability to live independently from one another. This is, of course, subject to the available assets, however, the Court will try to ensure that each person is able to live a similar standard of living to that when they were married though in real terms, there will be an expectation that you and your spouse adjust your standard of living accordingly if finances dictate. The law suggests that the starting point for any division of assets should be equal. However, the court will also pay regard to a set of criteria when deciding whether to depart from this equal sharing principle. The court will first and foremost give paramount consideration to the welfare of any child. Following that the Court will consider: a) The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future including in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which it would be, in the opinion of the Court, reasonable to expect a person to take steps to acquire; b) The financial needs, obligations and responsibility which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future; c) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage; d) The ages of each spouse and the duration of the marriage; e) Any physical or mental disability of each spouse; f) The contributions which each spouse has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family; g) The conduct of each spouse that conduct being such that it would be, in the opinion of the Court, to be inequitable to disregard; h) The value of any benefits which one spouse, because of the divorce, would lose a chance of acquiring, most usually pension provision. None of these factors listed above, carries more weight than another and the Court has discretion as to which of these factors they consider should be paramount, depending on the circumstances of each case. There is no definite answer as to ‘who should get what’ and much will depend on each person’s set of circumstances, but, essentially, will boil down to what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. We are able to advise and assist you in relation to what you may be able to achieve by way of financial settlement in light of your own set of circumstances.