How do courts divide the matrimonial assets?
The court’s power to divide matrimonial assets is infused with discretion. As a guideline of the steps to take, the courts have adopted a methodical approach towards the resolution of an application:
- Arrive at a current valuation to all the property that were matrimonial assets subject to the power to divide;
- Decide what each spouse’s direct contribution to their acquisition was;
- Decide what each spouse’s indirect contribution was;
- Decide in the light of these and other factors of consideration what would be the ‘just and equitable’ proportion of division of the whole basket of matrimonial assets
- Make consequential orders to achieve these proportions from the present pattern of property holdings by the spouses
How do courts deal with all the different assets?
When there are many different assets to divide, one approach the court takes is to place all the assets in a pool of matrimonial assets, calculate it as one net value and divide it. Even the largest pool of assets, valued at $69 million, can be divided using this methodology.
Another approach the court may take is to divide the matrimonial assets into different groups, which are then divided separately within each group. For example, the assets may be divided into different categories like matrimonial home, shares, and businesses, which are then split into different percentages between the former Husband and Wife.
What if my other spouse is hiding his/her assets?
When filing an affidavit setting out full particulars of one’s property and income, a party has to make full and frank disclosure. Otherwise, adverse inference can be made when there is some substratum of evidence that establishes a prima facie case and it is shown that the person whom the inference is to be drawn has some particular access to the information he is said to be hiding.
When an adverse inference is drawn, the court may make a finding of the value of the undisclosed assets on available evidence or order a higher proportion of the known assets to be given to the wife.
Hiring the best divorce lawyers
Experienced divorce lawyers who have a wealth of experience in handling all aspects of matrimonial matters will be able to advise you on your claim to the matrimonial assets, considering the merits of your case. Always look for a divorce law firm that adequately supports and represents you throughout divorce proceedings.