It’s a common misconception that when it comes to divorce, the most important consideration is who contributed the most financially during the marriage. Although contributions of the parties is a factor taken into account, it is not as clear cut as it first appears.
The Family Courts in England and Wales are given discretionary powers when it comes to calculating what a fair financial settlement may look like and there is no one formula which is applied. The Court will instead have consideration for a number of factors contained in s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (s.25 MCA 1973).
One situation many couples may find themselves in is where one party has been the predominant ‘breadwinner’ during the marriage, whereas their spouse may have been the homemaker and looked after the children of the family. Although the financial contributions during the marriage are highly regarded, the Family Courts do not discriminate against those who have contributed to the marriage in a non-monetary sense.
The Court will also consider contributions made to the welfare of the family. This approach was introduced following a landmark case in 2001. In practice, this means that for long marriages where the parties have contributed both financially and to welfare of the family, the starting point is usually a 50:50 division of all assets.
As mentioned above, the Court will need to have regard to all of the circumstances of the case and to the remaining s.25 MCS 1973 factors, and so departure from an equal split can be achieved.
If you have a family issue and wish to discuss this matter then please contact our specialist Family team here.