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We, at Hepburn Delaney, receive many enquiries about financial matters in divorce, with issues surrounding what assets are matrimonial and are considered non-matrimonial assets.
Ms. Abbey* instructed us on her divorce and the financial aspects. Mr. Bailey* owns a business in his name however both parties own several properties in joint names. There was an argument as to whether those assets were matrimonial i.e. form part of the marriage pot or non-matrimonial i.e. assets that fall outside of the marriage pot.
Matrimonial assets are any assets that you, and your husband or wife acquired during the course of your marriage. They can also be assets acquired during any time you lived together before you got married (pre-marriage cohabitation). In this case, if Mr. Bailey’s business was formed during the course of the marriage or if he lived with Ms. Abbey before they got married, then the profits from the business would be classified as part of the matrimonial ‘pot’.
Non-matrimonial assets are assets that typically include things like inheritance, family businesses and property that was purchased before the marriage. Non-matrimonial assets are a little more complicated, and you can often ask for these to be excluded from the financial settlement however, this request might not always be granted. This is usually because of the intermingling of monies, i.e. you may receive inheritance from a Great Uncle and use that as a deposit for the family home, which will consequently make the family home a matrimonial asset.
As there were many assets to be considered, mainly Mr. Bailey’s business and the joint properties, formal valuations, chartered surveyors and business valuations are all party to address the issues surrounding the questioning of which assets fall in either category. Further, if the parties needs exceeds the assets available, then it is always possible to invade into the non-matrimonial assets in order to meet a parties needs upon divorce. This is also an interesting aspect of financial settlements with this issue, as there may be ringfencable assets.
We, at Hepburn Delaney, appreciate that a breakdown of a relationship/marriage can be stressful. Through our Financial Settlement services, we aim to ensure that we assist you in any way that we can to avoid the stress involved and come to a smooth resolution.
We, therefore, conducted a thorough examination of all their assets, including Mr. Bailey’s business and the jointly owned properties and to accurately determine which assets fell within the matrimonial category and which could be considered as non-matrimonial. This careful evaluation, coupled with expert valuations, would form the foundation for negotiating a fair and equitable financial settlement. Throughout the process, we made sure to keep Ms. Abbey informed, providing legal guidance and support to alleviate the stress associated with the divorce proceedings and to work towards amicable resolution.
* Disclaimer: The names used in the following case study have been changed to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of individuals involved in the case.
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