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Can my spouse make a claim on my assets after our short marriage?

The simple answer to the question is yes. However the real question should be ‘to what extent?’

When you begin the process of divorce or dissolving a civil partnership, there will be questions regarding finances and asset division.

The court has considerable power, and discretion when determining how assets should be divided. A key factor that will be considered is the duration of the marriage.

You might be wondering how much you will be able to agree together as a couple, but it is always best to take advice, as division of assets will depend on several things. If you and your ex-partner can discuss financial issues amicably this will help matters to come to a successful conclusion more quickly.

If you have children, then this will take priority with the court in respect of the principles of ‘need’ and ‘sharing’. The longer the marriage, the more likely it is that the court will take a more generous approach to the division of assets. This is irrespective of who brought the assets to the marriage.

What constitutes a short marriage?

When it comes to division of assists there is no definitive answer. The court will consider the facts of each case individually. There are numerous things to evaluate – co-habitation prior to marriage; duration of marriage; children; as well as both shared and individual assets.

For example if a couple co-habited for 10 years before getting married, it would likely be considered a long marriage if co-habitation progressed seamlessly into marriage.

In comparison, if a couple has been married for two years without any prior relationship or co-habitation, and not children are involved, then this case, in all probability, would be determined by need.

Financial provision in such a case would be determined by the court’s unlimited discretion and any available resources, standards of living as well as dependency issues.

Initially finances are approached in an identical manner for all divorce cases regardless of marriage duration. A full and frank financial disclosure by both parties will be required and must be supported by documentary evidence.

Children, salary and earning capacity as well as contributions to the marriage and the age and health of a couple will all be brought into consideration.

A short marriage may no longer entitle couples to an equal share of any assets generated during the marriage, but this does depend very much on individual circumstances.

Irrespective of the length of marriage, divorcing couples do have potential claims against their spouse in respect of income, property and pension provision.

Fundamentally, there is no quick fix or formula and financial proceedings can be complex. This is why it is vital that legal advice should be sought to achieve the best outcome for you.

To discuss divorce or financial implications then call us on 0121 248 4001



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