Principles guiding decision-making –‘Section 25 factors’

Principles guiding decision-making –‘Section 25 factors’

A court will always take into account the needs of a child under 18 as a priority when financial matters are being resolved. In addition Section 25 (2) (b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out a number of factors which the court should take into consideration when deciding on applications made in divorce proceedings.

These are factors that any separating couple might like to take into account when they are reaching their own decisions, bearing in mind that they may wish to obtain the court’s approval to the terms of any financial agreement they reach.

The factors are:

  1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that earning capacity which it would, in the opinion of the court, be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire.
  2. The financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
  3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
  4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
  5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage.
  6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family
  7. the conduct of each of the parties if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it
  8. in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

In addition in respect of pension arrangements the court must look at

In the case of paragraph (1) any benefits under a pension arrangement which a party to the marriage has or is likely to have and
In the case of paragraph (8) any benefits under a pension arrangement which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, a party to the marriage will lose the chance of acquiring