Important information: The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

WHEN it comes to divorce three assets tend to get all the attention - the house, the pension - and the dog. You’ll frequently hear: “Whatever you do, don’t move out of the family home.  Occupation is nine tenths of the law”.  Or “Don’t forget the pension or you’ll be penniless in later life”.

These pieces of advice will usually be emphatically barked at you from different camps. Divorce tends to split people into those who believe the house is the be all and end all, versus those who say forget the house and go for the pension. You and the kids will probably be alone in the third camp, worrying about how you’ll manage to cling onto the dog.

It’s generally all good advice, even if in the emotional turmoil of divorce all this asset-grabbing can feel tone deaf. Because once the tears have dried and the initial hurt has subsided, the fact is that having ‘gone for’ the assets is your best bet and will help set you up on the path to financial recovery.

And I have one more very important asset to add to your list - ISAs. With potentially tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds tucked away in ISAs over the years this is one asset that should not be overlooked.

With the annual ISA allowance having been a generous £20,000 for some years now, the sums generated can be significant. And even more so when you potentially double that for a couple, each with their own annual ISA allowance.

In the UK divorce settlements typically aim to achieve an equal split of the assets. This means the starting point is a 50/50 split, or as close as possible. This is calculated by adding all the divorcing couple’s assets together - so the family home, any other property, savings, investments, pensions and businesses must all be declared on a form that both spouses fill out.

Even if a property or an investment is held solely in the name of one spouse that doesn’t exclude it from the matrimonial assets. And, unless the marriage has been incredibly brief, that is likely to include assets owned before marriage too. It all goes into one big matrimonial assets pot.

So those ISA investments that will be held in individual names all go into the mix.

A cautionary note for the happily married…

If you can, savings and investments made throughout your married life should be split equally between you - rather than having them all in one spouse’s name. Should it come to divorce your starting point is a 50/50 split, but maintaining financial independence is very important.

Not only does it mean you have access to money, should you need it, but it also avoids any danger of slipping into unhealthy patterns of coercive control - where one spouse finds themselves unable to access money or assets without ’permission’ from their spouse.

For more information on this subject, read our life event guide on divorce. If you need financial advice, find out how Fidelity can help here.

Important information: Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Withdrawals from a pension product will not normally be possible until you reach age 55 (57 from 2028). Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice.

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