The Lionesses’ share of divorce

Thrings family lawyers on divorce

The Lionesses are set to fly the flag for women’s sport once again as their campaign to become World Cup winners for the very first time gets underway.

The team’s meteoric rise in popularity is just another signal that the days when a wife’s duty was her home and family whilst her husband brought in an income are most certainly gone.

Modern households have a more balanced responsibility where both partners work and contribute to family life. Recent statistics show that three out of four mothers with dependent children are now working and one in nine fathers are taking on the childcare.

With women rising up the ranks, what happens when they are the breadwinners or, like our Lionesses, the ones scoring the goals.

Meet Jennifer and Ben

Jennifer and Ben have been married for 15 years. Jennifer has a very successful career and has several valuable investments and a large private pension.

Ben works part-time from home running his own business, which is struggling. Ben looks after the couple’s two children, Maggie and Jake, allowing Jennifer to pursue her career. Ben has a small private pension and no other investments or savings.

Jennifer and Ben own the matrimonial home jointly.

The couple have decided to separate, and they turn their attention to the matrimonial finances.

Lions vs Lionesses: A one-all draw

Whether Ben and Jennifer discuss matters through mediation, solicitors or in the court forum, the primary consideration is the needs of their children, following which the aim is to achieve fairness and equality.

Historically, when looking at a relationship in its traditional form, the court would have considered what the wife’s “reasonable needs” were and made a financial award on that basis, even if this meant that the husband retained the lion’s share of the assets.

Luckily times have moved on and there is now no discrimination between the breadwinner and the homemaker, whoever that might be, meaning Jennifer and Ben will be considered equals in their relationship, having both made equal contributions to the marriage and family.

Four-four-two: a formula for balance

It is important to understand that there are three strands to matrimonial finances; capital assets (such as the family home and savings and investments), pension assets and income.

Only capital assets and pensions are available to be shared, Ben has no automatic right to a share of Jennifer’s income. Often there will not be enough money in the “pot” to go around and various considerations must be made to achieve a fair outcome that meets both Jennifer and Ben’s needs and those of their children.

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 provides a list of factors that must be taken into consideration, which includes:

  • Ben and Jennifer’s income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources;
  • their financial needs, obligations and responsibilities;
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • Jennifer and Ben’s ages and the duration of the marriage;
  • any physical or mental disability either may have;
  • the contributions which Ben and Jennifer have 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;
  • Jennifer and Ben’s conduct, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it; and
  • the loss of any benefit to either as a result of the divorce/dissolution.

Every financial settlement will turn on the facts of the case and there are numerous ways in which Ben and Jennifer could settle their financial claims; it is rarely as straightforward as simply spitting everything down the middle.

Ben and Jennifer will both need to provide full and frank financial disclosure before any advice can be given in respect of settlement proposals and careful consideration of all the options available to them must be explored.

The important thing is to get early professional advice to prevent any potential own goals and hopefully to ensure they stay away from a stressful penalty shootout in the family courts. The

Thrings Family lawyers is experienced in all areas of the law that are close to home. Whether it is marriages and pre-nuptial agreements, or divorces and separations, they will put your best interests first, taking the time to get to know you so that you are supported with sound advice tailored to your needs. To find out more, get in contact.

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