Helping You Reach a Fair Agreement Regarding Division of Assets
The division of assets in divorce and separation cases is a complex area of the law with a range of factors determining how a court may rule in scenarios where couples are unable to agree on terms. Primarily, a court seeks to ensure that assets are divided equitably between the parties involved. However, it’s important to understand that equitable doesn’t necessarily equate to equal. While the court aims to guarantee that all parties are adequately provided for, especially dependents like spouses and children, the division is influenced by the unique circumstances of each family.
Factors that a court may consider when determining how to divide assets includes the following:
- Marital Contribution – The extent of contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made in the capacity of homemaker or parent.
- Financial Resources – Current and future earning capacities, incomes, property, and other financial resources which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- Financial Needs and Responsibilities – Present and future financial needs and responsibilities of each party.
- Standard of Living – The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage or partnership.
- Age and Physical/Mental Condition – The age of each party and any physical or mental disability may be taken into consideration.
- Duration of the Marriage/Partnership – Courts may consider the length of the relationship when determining how to divide assets.
- Formal Agreements – Any formal or informal agreements the couple may have made (for example, prenuptial agreements) may be considered by the court.
- Pensions – Rights or potential rights to access pensions, benefits, and other financial gains.
- Conduct – In rare cases, the courts might consider the conduct of one or both parties, but only if it would be inequitable to disregard it. Remember, Ireland operates a no-fault divorce system, so very rarely looks to apportion blame except in very serious situations (serious child or domestic abuse, for example).
- Accommodation Needs – The housing needs of both parties.
- Welfare of Dependents – The welfare and specific needs of any dependent members of the family, especially children.
- Rights of Others – Rights and interests of third parties, such as cohabitees or creditors.
- The Existence of Separate Assets – Assets which were clearly separate and not intended for shared family use, like inheritances or gifts, may still be considered by the court in certain circumstances.
At McCarthy + Co, our family law team have extensive experience in helping our clients reach fair and equitable settlements regarding the division of their assets following the end of a marriage. We work closely with you to help you avoid the possibility of a lengthy, costly, and emotionally taxing divorce by negotiating clearly with your spouse’s legal representatives, aiming to settle out of court. If you currently have concerns regarding the division of assets in your marriage, you can complete our confidential consultation form and a member of our family law team will get back to you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Questions we are often asked in relation to divorce & separation.
What are my rights over property if I am married?
If the house's title is in both yours and your spouse's names, you co-own it. You can therefore choose to either sell the house and divide the proceeds after clearing any outstanding mortgage or purchase your partner's share, becoming the sole owner. However, having your name on the title deeds isn't the sole criterion for claiming legal rights to the family home after a marital separation. Rights can also be determined by factors like individual contributions to the household and the family. In addition, you can't sell, mortgage, or transfer your family home without your spouse's consent, as per the Family Home Protection Act 1976, updated in the Family Law Act 1995. This protection extends to civil partners but not to cohabiting couples.
What are my rights over property if I am not married?
If you live together without being married and the relationship ends, the family home's ownership rests with the person(s) holding the legal title. If the title deeds list both of your names, you jointly own the property and therefore must come to an agreement as to what will happen to it. If your name is not on the deeds, you may still have some ownership rights depending on the circumstances. For example, if you can show that you made regular contributions to the mortgage, this will be taken into consideration in your separation or divorce settlement.
What is The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010?
The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 is legislation that introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples, providing them with rights and responsibilities similar to those of married couples. Additionally, the Act set out rights and obligations for cohabiting couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex, who have been living together for a certain period. This legislation addressed various matters such as property, financial support, and pension rights, ensuring protections for both parties in the event of relationship breakdown or the death of a partner. The Act was a significant step in recognising and protecting diverse relationship structures in Ireland.
Do I need a lawyer to assist with the division of assets after my marriage ends?
While it's not mandatory to have a lawyer when dividing assets after a marriage ends, it's highly recommended. A lawyer can provide expert guidance on your rights and responsibilities, ensuring that the division is fair and legally sound. They can also assist in navigating complex situations, mediating disputes, and drafting necessary agreements. Without legal representation, you may miss out on certain entitlements or inadvertently accept unfavourable terms. Given the emotional and financial implications of asset division, having a lawyer can offer valuable support and protection.
Clíodhna O’Regan leads the family law department at McCarthy + Co. Clíodhna’s educational background includes studying law and European studies at the University of Limerick, even completing a semester in Madrid where she navigated the complexities of law in Spanish.
Clíodhna can be contacted via email at: email@example.com
About McCarthy + Co
McCarthy + Co. are a team of solicitors with more than 30 years of experience in providing legal advice, guidance and assistance to clients across Ireland.
We are a family-run business with offices in Dublin and Cork, but we have dealt with clients everywhere from Galway and Limerick to Waterford. We are honest, plain-speaking and thorough – we will work alongside you to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Our Awards & Accreditations
We are a multi-award winning firm, accredited by the Law Society of Ireland.
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Flor McCarthy wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.
Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.
John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.