property adjustment order

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An order made by the court in proceedings for divorce, separation, or nullity that affects rights of ownership of property belonging to either spouse. Such orders include the transfer of property from one spouse to another, settling property for the benefit of the other spouse or children, varying marriage settlements, or extinguishing rights under such settlements. The courts have exceptionally wide discretion in making property adjustment orders, and each case will depend on its own facts. The general aim of the discretion, and factors to be considered, are identical with those listed in relation to financial provision orders; two other factors to be considered are the need to provide adequate housing for both spouses, and especially for minor children, and the need to allow each spouse a share in the capital value of the family assets, especially the matrimonial home. The courts have power to order the sale of the matrimonial home or to make the home subject to a deferred trust for sale, e.g. until the children grow up. As in the case of financial provision orders, the court must achieve a clean break wherever possible. Property adjustment orders are often awarded in addition to financial provision orders and may only be made on or after the granting of the decree of divorce, separation, or nullity.

Subjects: Law.

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