Equal sharing is nowadays the principle applied in the vast majority of divorce cases on the basis that income earners and home makers are equally valuable. However, that simple formula does not always result in settlements being easily reached.
In one case, a businessman and his wife had three children together during a marriage which lasted almost 20 years. Their assets were provisionally valued at just over £5 million. However, the position was complicated by the wife’s claim that she should be awarded 75 per cent of the equity in the couple’s former home on the basis that her husband had failed to disclose all his assets.
The High Court accepted the husband’s plea that all of his efforts over the years had been for the benefit of his family and rejected the wife’s claim that he had attempted to hide the true extent of his wealth.
The Court divided the assets so that the former couple would each have a fund of up to £1 million in order to buy new homes. The wife’s income needs would be met by capital of about £1.8 million, although the husband would have £265,000 less than that because of a ring-fenced legacy inherited by the wife. The decision meant that both would leave the marriage with a broadly equal share of the assets and would each have sufficient resources to meet their future needs.