Financial mediation
The Matrimonial Causes Act, particularly as it applies in England and Wales, plays a crucial role in the division of assets during a divorce. It's important to understand how courts may interpret decisions regarding asset division. This guide aims to provide a basic understanding of these principles.

Understanding the Legal Framework

  1. The Matrimonial Causes Act: This is the primary legal document governing divorce and the associated financial provisions in England and Wales. It sets out the grounds for divorce and how financial assets should be dealt with.
  2. Fair and Equitable Division: The court's main objective is to ensure a fair and equitable division of assets. This doesn't always mean a 50/50 split; rather, it considers what is fair given the couple's circumstances.
  3. Factors Considered by the Court: When deciding how to divide assets, the court considers various factors, including the duration of the marriage, the age and health of each party, their income and earning capacity, and contributions made by each party (including non-financial contributions like homemaking and childcare).

Role of Mediation in Asset Division

  1. Encouraging Agreement: Mediation is a process where a neutral third party assists the couple in reaching an agreement. It is less adversarial than court proceedings and can be more amenable to finding solutions that work for both parties.
  2. Understanding Needs and Interests: Mediators help couples understand their own and each other's needs and interests. This understanding can be pivotal in reaching a fair division of assets.
  3. Flexibility and Creativity: Unlike the court process, mediation allows for more creative solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs of the family.

Steps for Divorcing Couples

  1. Disclosure of Financial Information: Full and frank disclosure of all financial assets is a prerequisite in mediation as well as in court proceedings. This includes income, properties, savings, investments, pensions, and debts.
  2. Assessing Contributions and Future Needs: Couples should consider their contributions to the marriage and their future needs, including housing, income, and pension provision.
  3. Considering the Welfare of Children: If children are involved, their welfare is the court's paramount consideration. This includes their financial needs, housing, and how their upbringing should be financed.
  4. Legal Advice: While mediators can guide and facilitate discussions, obtaining independent legal advice is crucial. A lawyer can advise on legal rights and ensure that any agreement is in line with what a court would consider fair.
  5. Documenting Agreements: Any agreement reached should be documented and, ideally, made legally binding by a court order. This helps prevent future disputes.


Understanding the principles of the Matrimonial Causes Act and how assets are divided in a divorce can be complex. Mediation offers a less confrontational path and can lead to more tailored solutions. However, it's important for divorcing couples to also seek legal advice to ensure that any agreement made is fair and in accordance with the law. Remember, the focus should always be on finding a balanced solution that respects the rights and needs of both parties and, importantly, any children involved.