Sorting out your finances is clearly a big part of bringing your relationship to an end, and is something you need to resolve before you are formally divorced (or your civil partnership dissolved). You need to decide asset ownership as well as whether either of you should pay spousal maintenance.
The court will take into account all your assets in the UK and overseas, including properties, investments, pensions, interests in businesses. It also looks at your earning capacity and your needs both now and in the future. You will each be expected to provide full and frank financial disclosure.
It is well known that the starting point for the division of finances on a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is 50:50. However, in practice reaching a decision is much more complex and a 50:50 division is frequently departed from, depending on the circumstances, including:
The length of the marriage or civil partnership (prior cohabitation is taken into account)
The contributions made by each partner
Any children and their ages
Differences in earning capacity
Although the court applies exactly the same formal principles in considering divorce and civil partnership dissolutions, recent case law has explored whether the court should take a different approach to financial divisions in cases involving gay and lesbian couples. Ultimately, the court has a wide discretion when considering what orders to make, and every case is fact-specific.
If you can reach agreement between you (often with the aid of solicitor negotiation or a mediator), the next step is to ask the court to decide whether what you have agreed is fair and reasonable. If so, a judge will ratify your agreement in a formal court order. If you cannot reach agreement, you can ask the court to decide how to divide your assets.