Clean Break Financial Settlement
Consideration will be given as to whether it is possible to achieve a “clean break” financial settlement, which will prevent either party from making any further future financial claim against the other.
A spouse will not be penalised for remaining in the home and looking after the children whilst the other party goes out to work. The court will treat a spouse’s contribution to the marriage as equal, albeit that one spouse’s contribution was an economic and the other a homemaking contribution.
Sometimes, it is not practical for the parties to achieve financial independence immediately, and in those cases it may be appropriate for there to be a maintenance order in favour of the spouse.
Even a short marriage may create financial dependence.
The court will adopt a different approach to “matrimonial” assets and “non-matrimonial” assets. Matrimonial assets mean the assets built up by the parties during the marriage, like the family home. Matrimonial assets are generally divided to meet the reasonable needs of the parties.
“Non-matrimonial” assets are assets built up prior to or subsequent to the breakdown of the marriage, or assets acquired through an independent source.
- inherited wealth;
- personal wealth generated prior to or after the breakdown of the marriage;
- personal injury compensation;
- interest in a trust.
These assets may not be shared between the two parties save to achieve a fair outcome. The courts retain a wide discretion to treat each case differently depending on the facts.