News & Insights

Erosion of the Sharing Principle

In the recent case of Sharp v Sharp [2017] a wife of a 4 year marriage has been successful in appealing a decision which awarded her husband 50% of the matrimonial assets valued at £5.45 million. The Court of Appeal reduced the husband’s award from £2.725m to £2m.

The starting point of the division of matrimonial assets in divorce is 50/50, this is known as the sharing principle. However, the Court must consider all of the circumstances of the case which may include factors that justify a departure away from 50/50.

In this case, it was a short and childless marriage. Both parties were in their early 40s, earning a yearly salary of around £100,000 per annum. The wife received bonuses of around £10.5m during the marriage, whilst the husband’s bonuses were inconsequential in comparison. The parties also maintained their own finances throughout their marriage which included splitting restaurant and utility bills, as well as the husband not being privy to the amount of bonuses received by the wife.

The Appeal Judge reduced the award by allowing the husband £1.3m being 50% of the value of the properties held in joint names and £700,000 to reflect; the standard of living enjoyed by both parties, the need for capital to remain living in the property the husband retains and only some share in the wife’s assets.

This case highlights that being married does not always guarantee a 50% share in the matrimonial assets.

If you wish to discuss this further, please contact Lynn Gooch on 020 8502 3991 for more information.