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What orders can the Royal Court make to distribute assets?
Divorce | Private Client
The Royal Court has wide powers to decide whether or not a party to a divorce should provide for the other party following the divorce procedure and to decide how the property and the financial aspects divorce of the parties should be distributed.
Orders which can be made include the following:-
- An order that either party shall make maintenance payments to the other, including orders for the maintenance of the children;
- An order that one party pay the other a lump sum of money;
- An order that one party transfer property to the other;
- Orders which have the effect of deciding which individual items of property belong to or should be retained by which of the parties to the marriage.
- The Court can order that the former matrimonial property should be sold. Such an order can contain a postponement provision stating that for example, the former matrimonial home should be sold, but only after a specific period has expired. In some cases, it is appropriate for the Court to delay the sale of matrimonial property until the children of the marriage have grown up.
When deciding whether or not to make an order in relation to the financial aspects of divorce and financial relief, the Royal Court will take into consideration:-
- The welfare of any children
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parties to the marriage
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability of either party to the marriage
- The contributions which each of the parties has made, or is likely in the foreseeable future to make, to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
The Court will not look at whether any party was by his or her conduct responsible for the breakdown, unless such conduct was such that it would be inequitable to disregard it. In practice, this means that a court will only look at a party’s behaviour as relevant to the financial settlement if that behaviour was outrageous. In the words of one court, it would take the party’s conduct into consideration only if it would be “repugnant to normal sense of justice to ignore that conduct”.
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