You may or may not have heard of a ‘financial settlement’?

A financial settlement in divorce is an agreement between both parties on how to split all relevant assets, including things like property, savings, investments and pensions. If there are children involved, it could also set out the details of child maintenance payments going forward.

For the purposes of divorce, assets are usually referred to as either ‘marital assets’ or ‘pre-marital assets’.

Are divorce assets always split 50/50 in the UK?

Not always, no. It depends on the circumstances of the marriage in how much either spouse is entitled to – this could lead to one party receiving a larger proportion of the assets than the other.

The main factor is to ensure both parties are left in a fair position afterwards and able to become financially independent of one another as quickly as possible.

What makes a fair divorce settlement?

Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (the Act) sets out the basic guidelines that the English and Welsh Courts apply when dealing with financial claims involving property, savings, pensions and maintenance.

What is considered?

  1. Dependant children
  2. The financial needs and responsibilities of both parties
  3. The standard of living before the marriage breakdown
  4. The age of yourself and your spouse
  5. The duration of the marriage, including any time spent living together before the marriage
  6. Any disabilities or health concerns that impact your day-to-day life
  7. The role each party played in the marriage, such as primary caregiver and breadwinner/ primary wage earner

Does adultery make a difference?

Adultery is actually no longer a factor in divorce and finances. Since the introduction of the new ‘no fault’ divorce laws in April 2022, people no longer need to submit grounds for divorce, such as adultery.

You can now simply state the reason as ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’.

It means both parties are treated equally when it comes to determining a financial settlement, and while this may not be 50/50 due to the reasons above, a person’s adultery will not result in a bigger share.

Can a prenuptial agreement protect assets?

Contrary to popular belief, a prenuptial agreement is not a legally binding document. However, if entered into properly, this will be a good guide for the court as to the intention of how the assets will be divided.

Does the length of marriage affect a divorce settlement?

The length of a marriage is an important consideration for the court. However, the court must consider all the circumstances in a case, including long relationships that move into a short marriage before separation in a comparable way, if it is fair to do so.

Divorce and finances can be complex and as you can see, it’s not a one size fits all scenario.
Always seek specialist advice. Contact our team on 01792 468684 or email

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