Ant & Lisa: What is their financial position following divorce?
Posted on January 24th 2018
Many people were recently saddened to hear that TV presenter and national treasure, Ant McPartlin (Ant & Dec) and his wife, Lisa Armstrong, are parting ways after 23 years together.
They have been married for 11 years. Lisa is well-known for her work on TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent. Reports suggest that Ant wants to split the couple’s finances equally. Both Ant and Lisa are reportedly keen to avoid a court battle and wish to walk away positively from the marriage.
What is your financial position following divorce?
The truth of reports surrounding Ant and Lisa remains to be seen. However, here are some things to bear in mind if, like them, you are considering the financial side of divorce.
You will not be penalised financially if you are the person being divorced:
If Ant is divorcing Lisa, as reports suggest, Lisa will not be penalised financially as a result.
Your behaviour during the marriage does not automatically affect the financial settlement that you will receive:
Ant is allegedly holding himself to blame for the breakdown of the marriage, after time spent working away and secrets that he kept from Lisa put strain on the relationship. However, “bad behaviour” during a marriage will generally only have an impact on a financial settlement if it is particularly extreme (e.g. fraud or attempted murder).
Time spent working away from your spouse, or not talking to them about your problems can, understandably, have an impact on your relationship. Ultimately, it may contribute to the subsequent breakdown of this relationship. However, these actions will probably not have an impact on the financial award.
Finances in divorce are not always split equally:
An equal division of assets is the starting point in divorce cases, but this is not necessarily the end of the story. It was recently decided that a departure from the 50/50 starting point was fair in the case of a childless couple who were both in full-time employment and kept their finances separate. Importantly, whilst a 50/50 split is the starting point for divorce cases, this does not mean to say that this is how things will inevitably pan out. It is a starting point only. A 50/50 split may be unfair for numerous reasons (the presence of children, the needs of the spouses, etc.) and if this is the case, should not be followed.
For Ant and Lisa, they have had a medium-length marriage, following a substantial relationship, which means that the 50/50 split is likely to be the starting point in their case.
A 50/50 split does not necessarily mean that all assets will be sold and divided:
If you are going through a divorce, you will have claims to the income, capital, and pensions of your spouse. Offsetting is often possible. It is not unusual, for example, for one spouse to leave a marriage with greater pension provision, but in return for less capital (such as money from the house) and then the other having more capital, but less pension.
All of Ant and Lisa’s assets that they have themselves, jointly with each other, and jointly with other people, will be considered. If Ant and Lisa agree to an equal division of their assets, it is impossible to say how this would look in reality and they may offset some things.
Ring-fencing is sometimes possible:
People are often concerned about the impact divorce may have on their pension. As already discussed, sometimes pension claims are partially or fully offset. It is also sometimes possible to agree that any claim for a Pension Share be ring-fenced. This would mean that the ex-spouse would only receive a share of pension obtained during a certain time period. For example, they may only receive a share of pension obtained whilst you were married. It is harder to successfully argue this when you have been married for a long time.
Your inherited assets may be protected:
When you divorce, all of your income, capital and pensions are up for discussion. However, inherited assets are treated differently.
Inheritance is often classed as a ‘non-matrimonial’ asset. However, it depends on the circumstances. For example, if your ex-spouse needs something from your inherited asset, their argument could be taken into account.
An amicable approach to divorce:
Ant and Lisa are said to be approaching their divorce and finances amicably. They are hoping to avoid the need to go to court. When approaching the financial side of your divorce, you should always try to reach an amicable agreement with your spouse. This can be achieved between the two of you, in mediation, or with the help of Solicitors. We hope that Ant and Lisa can reach an agreement quickly, which will allow them to move forward positively.
How can we help?
If you are looking to get divorced and would like advice about this and the associated finances, please contact us. We offer free initial advice. You can also visit our drop-in clinic on a Thursday to speak to a Solicitor for free, face-to-face. Call us today on 01244 312306 or fill in our contact form here.
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