Norwegian family law: Understanding how assets get divided in divorce

The decision to get a divorce is the hardest one a person can make, more often than not, with lifelong consequences. It requires much more attention than couples are willing to give it. The stats tell us that the divorce rate is steadily declining in Norway. Nevertheless, people still end up in court trying to sort out how to divide their assets. In the Scandinavian Peninsula, the dissolution of marriage must follow the procedures outlined in the Civil Code.

Divorce without a prenuptial agreement 

As a rule, the assets and debts acquired during the time of the marriage are divided evenly between the spouses. For every rule, there is an exception. Consequently, the assets obtained by one of the partners before marriage can remain undivided. Examples include but aren’t limited to gifts and personal inheritance.

Any disagreements regarding property and division are handled by the district court. The first court of instance takes into account factors such as:

  • Income and financial prospects
  • Standard of living prior to the divorce
  • Age and the duration of the marriage
  • Sequences of behavior that occurred during marriage
  • Housing options after divorce

According to Advokatmatch, legal experts with experience in court proceedings, it’s not uncommon for couples to agree to an out-of-court settlement with regard to the division of assets. When finalizing such an agreement, it’s not mandatory to get the consent of the court. Everything is put down in writing and the two spouses just sign the agreement.

Financial disclosure of assets in divorce  

When going through a divorce, people are obligated to disclose their financial assets, which is supported by proving documents. This is highly necessary to make sure that the settlement is just and equitable. If the financial assets are kept a secret, then we can’t talk about a fair settlement. The asset declaration will feature any of the following: property, income, savings, pension, bank accounts, insurance policies, and so on.

Spousal support/maintenance is quite rare  

Attention needs to be paid to the fact that Norwegian family law is different as compared to European family law. In Europe, divorce or separation can turn out to be a burden for the father, who has to keep up with child support and alimony payments. In the Scandinavian Peninsula, it’s a completely different story. As the title clearly suggests, spousal support/maintenance isn’t granted very often.

The rule of thumb is this: when the two partners separate, they separate their finances as well. One isn’t obligated to support the other once the marriage is dissolute. Needless to say, there are cases when the spouse is granted alimony, but the period doesn’t exceed 3 years. Only in exceptional cases is support awarded for a longer period of time. Examples include sickness and the inability to support oneself.

In conclusion, if the parties have signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, when they file for divorce, it won’t be necessary to go to court for the division of assets, as they have already clarified this aspect.

 

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