My spouse treated me badly – does this mean I can expect more of the family assets?
Under S25 of Matrimonial Causes Act there is a consideration, namely the conduct of each of the parties and is that conduct such that it would, in the opinion of the court, be inequitable to disregard it. This amongst another 7 considerations is one issue that needs looking at when dividing the family assets.
Often a client will be extremely hurt as a result of the other spouse’s behaviour, most commonly of course, an extra marital affair. They often assume, that if they can show the other is at fault, then the court will find in their favour. However, the law rarely takes into account behaviour unless it is of an extremely serious nature e.g. attempted murder, sexual abuse or a very serious assault and you would ideally require a criminal conviction to prove the behaviour, so you do not have the expense of a trial to establish the truth of your allegation.
Unsurprisingly, the spouse who has been hurt (but not sufficiently seriously) feels aggrieved that the other’s conduct is not given more weight by the judge when deciding how to apportion assets. We believe that the courts approach to this issue has to be right. You do not want a district judge, who does not know you both, trawling through your histories and apportioning responsibility for the marriage breakdown. They will inevitably reach a judgement that gives neither party any solace and costs both husband and wife a fortune in the process. So unlike some other areas of law it is not a case of where there is blame there is a claim.
If you want to discuss this or any other related family issue please do not hesitate to contact Gemma Gillespie, on 01892 515022 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org