You can agree how you divide belongings, savings, investments and other assets and liabilities between you in whatever way you like. However it may be useful to know how a court would deal with your situation and what it would consider to be a sensible outcome and you may wish to take this into account in your discussions.
Whatever your circumstances, you can agree how to split your assets and you don't necessarily have to involve lawyers or the courts. However, you may prefer to use a family lawyer or a mediator (a professional skilled in helping people to negotiate with each other) – see Useful links.
Think about what your needs are now and in the future - remember there will now be two households rather than one – and make sure you take into account any special needs which might cause extra costs, any foreseeable changes to your circumstances and the costs involved in divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation. The needs of each of you are however just one of the factors to be taken into account in deciding a settlement – see General Approach.
The courts have extensive powers regarding the financial settlement in a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. They can order maintenance, lump sum payments, transfer or sale of property and make orders against pensions. Bear in mind that the courts have a wide discretion when deciding what orders to make, so there is no guarantee that a court will agree with your view of how the belongings and assets should be split.
You should be completely open and honest about what assets you own, otherwise you will not be able to agree a fair division. This includes assets abroad, assets which you hold in the name of others (for example, family members or trusts or companies), assets held by others on your behalf and assets which you are likely to receive in the future. If you don't tell your spouse or civil partner about some assets or income and it is discovered later, any agreement that was reached, or court order that was made, can be overturned. If you think your spouse or civil partner is withholding information, you should not make any agreement, and instead contact a solicitor – see Useful links.
If your settlement is decided by court proceedings, there is an obligation on each of you to provide complete, full and frank information about your financial positions. A spouse or civil partner who doesn't do so can be criticised by the court and may be penalised, either by the court ordering terms of settlement that are less favourable to them or by an order that they pay some or all of the costs.
Learn how to best approach the process of separating the things you own with your partner.Find out more about general approach
Deciding what you each own, your options where you own possessions jointly, negotiating with your former partner.Find out more about personal possessions
Sorting out who owns what, getting statements and valuations, negotiating with your former partner, transferring ownership as part of a divorce settlement or separation agreement, where to get advice.Find out more about savings and investments
During and following separation and divorce you will need to deal with bank accounts you share and sort out new bank accounts.Find out more about bank accounts
Pensions can be very valuable assets, and need to be carefully considered in any financial settlement.Find out more about pensions
You may have other property, other than the family home, such as a holiday home, timeshare or property that was bought as an investment and rented out.Find out more about property
A court will have sympathy with an argument that an inheritance received by one of you should be excluded when deciding how to divide things between you.Find out more about inheritances
Businesses often form a central part of any divorce or civil partnership dissolution.Find out more about a business you own
Spouses and civil partners can agree the amount of financial support (maintenance) that is to be paid to one of you and for any children from the income of the other.Find out more about maintenance
You may have recorded what you would like to happen in the event of divorce or dissolution in a pre- or post- marital agreement.Find out more about Pre/post marital agreements
Pets should be considered in a divorce or separation to make sure the pet is cared for appropriately.Find out more about Pets