What assets cannot be split in a divorce in the UK?

Assets called “non-matrimonial assets” are generally excluded from a divorce settlement in the UK. Non- matrimonial or non-marital assets are things that each spouse solely owned before or after the marriage. These assets are not jointly owned and are usually not divided in a divorce settlement. 

However, a non-matrimonial asset may be split in a divorce settlement if the marital assets are not enough to meet the needs of a spouse or if they were brought into the marriage and used during the subsistence of the marriage. For example, where one person bought a home where the family lived together. Or, where one person started a business before the marriage, and the funds received from the business were used to support the family. 

How assets are split in a divorce is decided on a case-by-case basis and is subjective to the needs and circumstances of each person. The court will look at the standard of living each spouse is used to, their ability to earn an income, the length of the marriage, and whether there are any children that need to be supported, among many factors. 

How do I avoid losing assets in a divorce UK?

A good way to avoid losing assets in a divorce is to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These are legal contracts that state how assets will be divided between you and your partner in the event of a divorce. While a prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage, a postnuptial agreement is signed by a couple during the marriage. In other cases, where a prenup is amended during the marriage, this becomes a postnuptial agreement.

Post and pre-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in England and Wales, however, they can significantly impact any decision the court makes regarding your finances if they are properly set up. 
These agreements clearly outline the intentions of both parties in the case of divorce. For instance, you can include clauses that limit your liability from your spouse’s debts and clear you from taking on that financial responsibility. 
Providing each person gained legal advice when drafting the agreement, it was drafted by a family law solicitor and does not leave one person in financial hardship, these agreements will likely be reliable.

Can you legally hide assets in a divorce?

No, it is illegal to hide assets during a divorce because each party must honestly and fully disclose all of their assets. Hiding assets during a divorce can result in serious consequences, which are punishable with a penalty. 
The penalty could range from paying the legal fees of the other party to the other party getting a larger distribution in the divorce settlement. 
If your spouse suspects that you are hiding some of your assets, they can apply for a court order such as a search order which allows their legal team to search for hidden information, or a freezing order which can stop you from disposing of or handling your assets. 

How Can GloverPriest Help?

Our team of specialised family law solicitors is here to provide you with support and advice on your divorce. Start your divorce online by completing this form. Alternatively, call one of our experts on 0121 794 5814 for further advice or use our contact form to request a callback.

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