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Inherited & Pre or Post Marriage Acquired Assets

The court’s ultimate objective is to achieve an outcome that is 'fair' in all the circumstances of the case.

The 'sharing principle' has developed so that in the majority of cases family assets will be divided equally between the two of you unless a departure from equality is justified on a basis such as 'need' of one or other of you or for some other good reason. So far as inherited or pre-acquired assets are concerned, there are similar issues as for other 'non-family' assets. The courts have a wide discretion.
Inherited property and pre or post marriage acquired property will not be ring-fenced but the court will look, amongst other things, at:

  • when it came into existence
  • the nature and value of the property
  • the length of your marriage
  • whether the property still exists
  • how you treated it during your marriage
  • whether it needs to be redistributed to meet both or either of your needs
  • the way in which you organised your financial arrangements.

With inherited property, as a rough rule of thumb the longer the marriage and the longer the inherited wealth has been enjoyed the less likely it is to be ring fenced.