Is 50/50 always fair in a divorce settlement? – Our guide to splitting assets during or after divorce

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM
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If you have decided to get a divorce splitting assets (as well as debts) can feel overwhelming. However, a few simple steps can help make things clearer and reduce the stress and strain on your emotions.

If you’re feeling daunted by sorting out your finances, this guide will help you understand how how to split assets in divorce.

If you would like professional help with the division of assets in divorce processes and reaching an agreement over your finances, explore our services here.

How to split assets in a divorce

Start with the big picture

It’s worth bearing in mind that most people must accept a change in lifestyle post-separation; the division of assets in divorce is usually what causes this. Rarely is there enough money to go around so compromise is the all-important word. Setting realistic goals for where you want to be after your divorce and avoiding an entitlement mindset will help you stay more amicable.

Setting realistic goals means creating a picture of what you want the future to look like. If you have children, this will ideally be with them at the centre of it – starting with how you both intend to look after your children and where you will all live.

Try and agree on the big-picture principles with your ex before moving on to the detailed steps below.

Work out the details

  • Make a list of all your assets and debts (sometimes called liabilities) – you can do this on a simple spreadsheet.
  • Show your partner evidence such as bank statements to make your finances transparent
  • Find out the value of your pensions (request a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) from your pension providers) – This can take up to three months with some pensions so request it early. For more information involving pensions when divorcing, we have a blog.
  • Work out what income each of you earn (don’t forget to add in any benefits or rental income)
  • Work out how much money you will need to live on in the future (look at your outgoings). If your income doesn’t cover your outgoings investigate benefits you may be entitled to, spousal maintenance or cutting back if that’s possible
  • Check if you are entitled to tax credits
  • Think about how and when you will return to work to support yourself if you’re not currently working. What sort of wage or salary do you think you can earn?
  • Calculate any child maintenance you think you might be due (you can do this on the child maintenance service website - remember this is the statutory minimum of what you *need * to pay, not what you *should * pay)

What the law says about who gets what in a divorce?

Are assets split 50/50 in divorce?

Not necessarily. Once you have gathered all of your information and shared it with your partner, talk to them about how you want to split everything. Try and have options rather than a single proposal. It’s worth remembering that the law does not have a defined formula for splitting assets in divorce.

To make fair agreements, you must think about what the courts in England & Wales take into consideration; the needs of any children, your financial needs, your earning capacity, the contribution you have made (staying at home to raise children counts equally to earning money outside of the home), the length of the marriage, and your age and any health considerations.

Protecting yourselves with a consent order

If you have assets to divide such as property or pensions, you should consider getting a consent order. Our Consent Order Specialists will be able to tell you how the process works and how to divide assets in a divorce through simple, easy-to-follow steps.

A consent order is a document explaining how you have split your assets that is legally binding. It usually contains a ‘clean break clause’ which means you cannot come back for more in the future. It’s worth having a clean break consent order even if you don’t have assets, so that any you build up in the future, or inherit, are protected; just getting divorced without a consent order won’t protect you from your ex from making a claim against you in the future.

Need some support?

Sorting out your finances yourself is called a kitchen table agreement. Also, getting support to finalise your split can be done with little expense. However, sometimes going to court is unavoidable if one person won’t cooperate. If your partner is:

  • Hiding or disposing of assets
  • Abusive

it’s best to seek the help of a solicitor.

If you’d like to get started on separating assets in a divorce and reaching an amicable financial settlement, use our divorce-diagnostic or book a free 15-minute call with one of our Divorce Specialists now.


How to split assets in a divorce UK?

You can work out how to split your assets in a divorce between yourselves or using professional help. If your divorcing in England or Wales, you can have your financial agreements made legally binding through a consent order. Elsewhere in the UK you should seek specialist advice.

What am I entitled to in divorce?

The court decides whether your financial agreements are 'fair' firstly, based on need. Your 'needs' are what you're entitled to and will focus on whether each person has the financial provisions to separate from their partner. After that, the court will look at 'fair' based on contributions etc. What you're entitled to in divorce can vary widely depending on the size of the marital pot, the pre-marital pot and also, the needs and welfare of your child(ren) (if applicable).

How are assets split in a divorce uk?

The starting point is a 50/50 split. But if one of you has a greater need, for example, because you are housing the children or earn a lot less, then the split may be different. In divorce splitting assets can be a struggle. The courts will always try to create a fair clean break scenario for you both.

How long after a divorce can you claim assets uk?

Assuming your consent order has been approved, the time it takes for the transfer of assets, properties, finances etc. depends firstly on the terms of your consent order for when, for instance, a property will be transferred. Next, there is also the time it takes for the transfer of that asset/property/moneys to go through. In sum, there is no straightforward answer as it depends on the agreements laid out in the consent order and the legnth of the transferral process.

Can you divorce without splitting assets?

Divorce doesn’t end your financial relationship with your ex, so you can divorce without having sorted out how to divide your money and property or other assets, however, your rights change after divorce and if you would like a clean break to protect yourself from future claims, it’s recommended you explore making your financial arrangements and getting a consent order at the time.

Does going to court guarantee that within my divorce, splitting assets will be done so fairly?

Going to court does not necessarily guarantee that your assets will be split fairly during a divorce. When a divorce case goes to court, a judge will make decisions on various matters, including the division of assets, based on the laws and guidelines of the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.

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Comments (2)

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22.08.2022 14:07

Hi We separated and sold our property 10 years ago, splitting the money 50/50 & closing our joint account.We got back together several times over the decade& have lived together sharing bills but otherwise keeping all our assets, accounts separate. Now we want to divorce and just keep our own assets. We don’t want anything from each other. Is this problematic? Or will this be acceptable to the court? Any advice much appreciated.

John Smithy
26.07.2023 10:31

I thought asset split divorce was always half .. now u tell me !