Will I get Half in a Divorce Settlement in the UK?

Feb 16, 2024   ·   6 minute read
Will I get Half in a Divorce Settlement in the UK?

When you are going through a separation or divorce you need to know what you are likely to end up with as your divorce financial settlement. Without that information, or at least a broad idea of what you might reasonably expect to get, you may find the whole process of separating and getting divorced that much more traumatic.

In this blog, our family law solicitors answer your questions on whether you will get half in a divorce financial settlement and explain why some people may end up with more or less than half.

For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.

Does everyone get half the assets when they divorce?

There is no guarantee that you will get half the assets when you divorce. You may get less than half or you may get more than half. Every family is different and although the court starts from the premise that assets should be shared equally there are many reasons why a financial court order might be made that does not equally divide the assets and money equally between husband and wife.

Who decides if you get half the assets?

In an ideal world, you will reach a financial agreement with your separated husband or wife after having spoken to a family law solicitor or you will ask the solicitor to negotiate an agreement for you. Another alternative is to go to family mediation and reach an agreement in mediation. If you reach an agreement your financial settlement then needs to be converted into an agreed financial court order as part of the no-fault divorce proceedings.

If it is impossible to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse then either you or they can apply to the family court for a financial settlement. After financial disclosure and a series of court directions hearings, a final hearing will take place where the judge will hear evidence from each of you. The court will then make a binding financial court order.

The court will decide what percentage of the assets you will get based on statutory criteria and case law. As well as deciding whether you will get half the value of the family assets the court can decide if the family home should be sold or if you should get to keep the house but not get to receive a share of your spouse’s pension or the value of their investments or shares in the family business. There are normally many different ways in which a judge can split assets equally between husband and wife.

Who works out what half is in a divorce financial settlement?

Your husband or wife may tell you that they want to keep things amicable and split the money and property equally but to do that fairly you may need assets to be independently valued.  For example, if your spouse says that you can keep the family home you need to know how much equity there is in the property if your spouse’s financial proposals are based on them keeping their pension or their shares in the family business. You will also need to know the true value of your spouse’s pension fund or the value of the family business. To get an accurate valuation of assets you may need to instruct a surveyor, pension actuary or forensic accountant to carry out valuations.

If assets are not accurately valued then you may not end up with half unless your agreement says every single asset will be sold and the money divided equally rather than some assets being retained by one of you as part of the negotiated deal or financial court order.

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Could I get more than half the property and assets?

There are some scenarios where you could receive more than half the money and property as your divorce financial settlement. For example:

  • If you signed a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that said you would get to keep more of the assets and the court thought it was fair to uphold the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in its entirety or partially
  • You owned a house or pension or family business before your marriage, the marriage is relatively short and your spouse can have their reasonable needs met without having to share all or some of your pre-marriage owned assets
  • You agree to receive more than half the assets but the deal is that you do not get ongoing spousal maintenance as your spouse is getting less than their half share of the property or other assets
  • You are the main carer of the children and you need more than 50% of the total asset pot to buy a new home for the children taking into account your reasonable housing needs and your mortgage capacity
  • Your spouse received an inheritance during the marriage and their housing or other needs can be met by using this inheritance whilst you need more than half of the family assets to meet your needs

Should I argue that I want half the assets as my divorce financial settlement?

A family law solicitor will tell you if you have a good case to get half or more than half the family assets as your divorce financial settlement. You can then decide whether it is worth the time and the potential legal fees of going to court and asking a judge to make a financial court order in your favour if your spouse will not agree to your requested financial settlement.

You may decide that it is best to compromise and reach a negotiated financial settlement or come to the view that as your estranged spouse is being so unreasonable about financial disclosure and the financial settlement that you have no alternative to ask the court to order that you get half the assets as your divorce financial settlement.

Your best option is to talk to a family law solicitor so you understand your rights and options to help you reach a fair divorce financial settlement.

For expert family law advice call our team for an appointment or complete our online enquiry form.