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Splitting Up – What’s Yours and What’s Mine

Posted on 12th November 2013 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

When a marriage ends, there can often be confusion as to the dividing up of possessions
between the couple. Belongings need to be divided up as fairly as possible, but there are a few mitigating factors that must be considered where the division of possessions is concerned. Every separation is different, and there are different ways to define the ownership of certain possessions. This article will elaborate on how belongings are divided up.

Shared Property

When a couple separates, if the property they live in is owned under both their names, then it can be divided by half. However, in some cases, agreements about possession division are sometimes made prior to marriage or separation, in which case the possessions can be split accordingly. The courts will take little action with regards to the splitting up of possessions, so the two parties may have to liaise with each other to sort out who takes what. This can be sorted out by a number of factors: personal preference, who will have the most use for an item or who bought the item in the first place, for example.

Family Homes

Where the family home is concerned, there are a number of options to be considered in the event of a separation or one party can buy out the other, they can agree to sell the house and divide the proceeds however they see fit. This all depends on factors such as the respective income of the two parties, the size of any mortgage on the home, and the mortgage size based against the value of the property.


Pets can be a stumbling block when it comes to dividing up possessions. A pet-related story made the news last year as a man in Israel was granted a divorce because his wife refused to get rid of the 550 cats she had brought into their home. Pets are often treated as possessions by the courts, in that they are not ascribed a monetary value like a sofa or television is. However, for expensive pets such as horses or pedigree dogs, they may have a financial amount associated with them.

The costs of keeping any animals will be considered and may form part of any maintenance award, and any space they need to live (e.g. stables, kennels, or land) can be appropriated accordingly. However, couples may have verbal agreements already in place, in which case it is completely down to their choice.

Here at Goodwins Family Law, we are vastly experienced in dealing with cohabitation disputes. We understand that to avoid any unwelcome disagreements, both parties need to have clear guidelines and rules regarding the division of assets and possessions. We can offer expert legal advice for you in the event of a separation, or we can help you devise a cohabitation agreement – this sets out clear rules and guidelines for you and your partner in regards to what happens to your property should you separate in future.

For more information about our legal services, or to receive expert legal advice, get in touch today. Contact us by phone, email or via our website contact form and we’ll be happy to help.

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