You’ve purchased a property with the help of someone else or even with your partner, but you are now due to marry. What should you be thinking about?

It is vital first of all that if a third party has an interest in your property that this interest is protected. This can either be done by a charge or a Declaration of Trust. This is good evidence that someone else has an interest in the property. This should be in place ideally long before the wedding and the longer the better.

Aside from protecting the interest of a third party what happens when you marry?

If you brought your property alone or with your now fiancé and your family gifted you money either for the purchase or towards the running costs you should have had a Declaration of Trust to protect those contributions. However, even with a Declaration of Trust in place getting married means that on relationship breakdown the court is not bound by the terms of that Declaration.

On marriage breakdown both parties have identical claims in relation to finances and when considering financial arrangements between spouses the Court considers the income of the parties and the matrimonial assets i.e. any capital owned by either spouse, in their sole name or jointly by both spouses. Therefore all assets form part of the pot for division.

On Divorce, the Court has the power to make a number of different Orders to include:-

  • To pay maintenance such as spousal maintenance which are regular payments from one former spouse to the other for a specified period of time.
  • To pay a lump sum of money to the other spouse
  • A Property Adjustment Order which transfers property or a tenancy into the name of one spouse
  • An Order for sale of property and other assets
  • A share of either spouse’s pension to be transferred to the other The Courts do not apply a formula to financial cases but consider a range of factors with a view to making an Order that the Court considers is most suitable in the particular case; however the starting position when considering the division of assets is an equal division to each spouse. The Court then considers whether there should be a departure from equality taking into account all of the factors. Given the Court’s wide discretion to divide the assets on divorce a pre-nuptial agreement should nearly always be considered.
  • The Court considers all the circumstances of the case and gives first consideration to the welfare of any children of the family under the age of 18. The Court then consider the factors listed in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

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    Chislehurst office: 020 8295 1989