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Understanding a 70/30 Divorce Asset Split With Examples

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    Divorce can be a challenging process, particularly when it comes to dividing assets.

    While a 50/50 split is often the starting point, a 70/30 asset division may be considered under certain circumstances.

    This guide explores the fairness of a 70/30 split, its prevalence, reasons a judge might consider it, and provides a clear example.

    Is a 70/30 Asset Split Fair?

    Fairness in asset division depends on the unique circumstances of each case. The UK courts aim to achieve a fair distribution of assets based on several factors:

    1. The Needs of Both Parties: Ensuring both parties’ needs are met, especially if one has lower earning capacity or greater childcare responsibilities.
    2. Standard of Living: Maintaining a similar standard of living post-divorce.
    3. Contributions to the Marriage: Both financial and non-financial contributions, such as raising children and maintaining the home.
    4. Future Needs and Resources: Considering potential future earnings, health conditions, and financial needs.

    A 70/30 split may be deemed fair if one party has significantly greater needs or fewer resources.

    While 50/50 splits are more common, deviations like 70/30 occur, particularly in cases of significant financial disparity or unique circumstances.

    Exact statistics on 70/30 splits are not readily available, but they are more likely when there is a compelling reason for an unequal division.

    The landmark case White v White established that fairness, not equality, should guide asset division.

    What does a 70/30 divorce asset split look like?

    In the UK, whether a 70/30 asset split in a divorce is fair depends on the specific circumstances of the marriage, including the length of the marriage, the needs of both parties, and the contributions made by each spouse.

    The courts aim for a division that is fair and meets the needs of both parties and any children involved. The notion of fairness is subjective and can vary greatly from case to case.

    Here is an example of how a 70/30 split might be determined in a divorce settlement, with hypothetical valuations and assets:

    Total Asset Pool: £1,000,000

    Assets:

    • Family Home: £500,000
    • Second Property: £200,000
    • Savings: £100,000
    • Investments: £150,000
    • Pension Funds: £50,000

    Liabilities: None for simplicity

    In this scenario, let’s assume that one spouse, Taylor, has given up a career to care for the family home and children, while the other spouse, Jordan, has a high-paying job and is the primary earner.

    Divorce Settlement (70/30 Split):

    • Taylor (70% Share): Taylor receives the family home valued at £500,000 and savings of £100,000. Additionally, Taylor is awarded £50,000 from the investments and £20,000 from the pension funds. This totals £670,000, which is roughly 70% of the total assets.
    • Jordan (30% Share): Jordan retains the second property valued at £200,000, £100,000 from the investments, and £30,000 from the pension funds, totalling £330,000, which is roughly 30% of the total assets.

    Court Orders Required:

    • Property Adjustment Order: To transfer the family home solely to Taylor.
    • Pension Sharing Order: To divide the pension funds in accordance with the agreed percentages.
    • Consent Order: To make the financial agreement legally binding and prevent future claims.

    This example is simplified and assumes a clean break is possible. In reality, ongoing spousal maintenance might be necessary, and the needs of any children would be a primary consideration.

    It’s also worth noting that the courts may deviate from an equal split if it is necessary to meet the needs of one party or the children. Each case is unique, and legal advice is essential to navigate the complexities of divorce settlements.

    How are assets divided in a divorce?

    The general principle is that the matrimonial pot should be divided equally in a divorce and there is an assumption of a 50:50 split as the starting point.

    But there is an overriding principle of ‘fairness’ which may well trump a simple division of assets.

    That’s because each individual divorce settlement will have its own specific set of circumstances and the court may decide that one spouse is entitled to a larger division of assets.

    So depending on each party’s need, a divorce 70/30 asset split or other such ratio splits may be more appropriate.

    It’s important to understand that fair doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50 when it comes to agreeing to a divorce financial settlement.

    When researching the division of assets in divorce the common split examples in the UK are a divorce 70/30 asset split, a 60/40 asset split, or a 50/50 asset split. Less common is an 80/20 asset split divorce.

    In the UK at least, receiving an asset split of over 60/40 is very rare.

    You may have heard stories about a spouse receiving a 70/30 asset split and therefore assume that this is common, however, it’s highly likely that this was a myth.

    When the Court is deciding if your agreement is fair and whether the deviation away from a 50/50 split (for example, a 70/30 split) is reasonable and necessary, they will consider a number of factors set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, such as:

    • The welfare of any children under the age of 18 is the primary consideration.
    • Income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
    • Financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities that each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
    • Standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
    • Age of each party in the marriage and the duration of the marriage.

    Which assets are typically included in a divorce?

    Most assets and finances that have been acquired or built up during the course of the marriage will be added to the so-called ‘matrimonial pot’ upon divorce. These include:

    • Matrimonial home – the house where husband and wife lived (irrespective of whose name is on the deed).
    • Personal savings – whether these are in individual or joint accounts, any monetary assets are generally added to the pot.
    • Pensions – these are considered to be a matrimonial asset, and their value will be taken into account when coming to a financial settlement. There are various ways you can split pensions, but it general, you should weigh up pension sharing and pension offsetting.
    • Business assets – even non-family businesses set up and managed by one spouse are considered to belong to both husband and wife in terms of their value. But rather than selling the business and splitting proceeds, often the division of assets will be realised via ongoing maintenance payments and/or a lump sum.
    • Personal belongings – Things such as furniture, electrical goods, art, jewellery, and even family pets are often included in financial agreements.

    Any non-matrimonial property including an inheritance or assets which were acquired before the marriage, and kept separately from joint finances, are often treated differently in the context of divorce.

    If money is inherited by either spouse during the marriage, the question of whether it will be added to the matrimonial pot will depend upon several factors.

    The rationale behind this was set out in the case of White v. White, in which the court acknowledged the view, widely but not universally held, that property owned before the marriage by one spouse and inherited property whenever acquired stand on a different footing from what may be loosely called matrimonial property’.

    In addition, parents will occasionally provide gifts or loans to their married sons or daughters, so are gifts to one spouse considered marital property in UK divorce settlements?

    Gifts from parents or others to an individual spouse will likely become matrimonial property in England or Wales when dividing assets in divorce settlements.

    However, the situation is different in Scotland, where gifts from third parties will not usually be considered matrimonial property.

    What happens if we cannot agree on how to divide our assets?

    It’s always best to come to a fair agreement between yourselves however, sometimes this just isn’t possible.

    The courts can then help decide how your assets should be split but this does come at a cost. You will need to apply to the court, which comes with a fee attached.

    Mediation may work and help keep the costs down but it’s always best to seek legal advice, especially if you believe you are not getting a fair settlement.

    Solicitor Drafted Consent Order Agreement – £449

    If you have a formal agreement in place with your ex-partner and wish to formalise it into a legally binding court order without spending thousands, our online services are ideal for you.

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