Does a new partner affect my divorce settlement?

The divorce process can take a long time – a standard divorce usually takes anywhere between 6 and 12 months. In fact, sometimes, it is several years before the divorce is even begun. It is only natural, then, that the spouses move on with their lives and begin new relationships whilst not formally divorced.

However, if a spouse does form a new relationship, that new partner’s financial position may well be considered in the financial settlement. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast law as to whether a new partner will be considered or not – it is simply left to the Court’s discretion, depending on other circumstances.

Essentially, it comes down to the following:

1. Is the relationship stable?

If it has been ongoing for 2 years, for example, and the couple are actually living together, then the relationship is clearly stable and the new partner’s finances are more likely to be considered.

2. Do the parties have sufficient assets between them to meet their own needs, without considering any new partners?

Where there is enough money in the marital pot for both parties to re-house comfortably, it is unlikely that any new partner’s assets are likely to feature in a Court’s consideration, as there is ostensibly no need to.

3. Does the new partner have significant assets?

If a new partner has no capital, and their income is modest, their financial needs are unlikely to be considered because, frankly, it will make no difference to the outcome. Conversely, if a party engages in a relationship with a multi-millionaire, then their financial situation is far more likely to be raised.

This is, of course, a very brief explanation as to how to approach this topic and each parties’ circumstances are different. However, in a society whereby cohabitation between soon-to-be divorcees and new partners is becoming increasingly common, this topic will continue to be raised.

If you would like further advice, please contact Heidi Fleming senior solicitor in our family law team.


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