Our episode 3 blog of The Split focused on Hannah and Nathan ‘nesting’, a way of living following divorce or separation that allows children to stay in the family home. In episode 4 we see that the nesting arrangement is not working out as planned and talk moves to selling the house and dividing the assets.
Hannah and Nathan meet with their family lawyers. Melanie (who represents Nathan) confirms that the nesting arrangement isn’t working and that it would be a good time to discuss the sale of the house, potentially with Hannah buying out Nathan’s share, as she is considerably better off than him. Hannah argues that they bought the family home with her money inherited from her great aunt, but Nathan says that it was left to both of them. For many divorcing couples, particularly where there is an imbalance of wealth, this can be a real worry as assets from the marriage are generally pooled and treated as joint assets (this is why we always recommend getting advice on having a pre-nup). The money that Hannah inherited from her great aunt would not be automatically excluded from the assets to be divided so it would be added to the ‘pot’ to be split between the two.
Nathan needs a house to move into, especially with a baby on the way, and he does not want to move into Kate’s house (she has a lot of plants!) as this could affect his financial settlement and whether he receives less of the marital pot, regardless of the plant situation.
When dividing assets on divorce, the court’s starting point is a 50:50 split of the matrimonial assets, which will include property, savings and investments. Pensions may be split according to capital value or equality of income. It is possible that cohabiting with a new partner might affect how a judge applies these factors when deciding on financial settlement. Kate’s assets, and any financial support he might receive from her will certainly be relevant. Either way, Nathan will need to disclose these details to the court. Nathan is under a duty to make full and frank disclosure of his finances, including the fact that he will not be homeless after the divorce and has a home to go to (Kate’s house). Failure to inform the court will leave any settlement reached or court decision vulnerable to review further down the line. As we have already seen, Hannah does not want to sell the family home and she may rely on this point to apply to vary the proposed settlement or have it set aside.
Read our blog post for The Split Season 3 series here:
- Episode 1: A divorce lawyer’s view of the last season of BBC’s family law drama
- Episode 2: Fact-checking and myth-busting season 3, episode 2 of The Split
- Episode 3: A family and divorce lawyer’s take on ‘nesting’
- Episode 5: Freezing order, saving relationships and second marriages
- Episode 6: A positive end to season 3 of The Split
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.