Divorcing couples are always keen to save on legal costs where possible, which is only natural. But beware of reaching an informal agreement without the benefit of legal advice beforehand, which could be detrimental to one of the spouses in favour of the other and also leave out an essential ingredient, such as pensions.
The principle of equal sharing is the starting point in cases where both spouses are in work and there are no dependants. It can come as a surprise to some couples, particularly the one who has the higher income and has funded most of the marital assets, that despite their superior contribution, this will not be a factor recognised in the Family Courts.
The case of Sharp v Sharp went through to the appeal courts earlier this year, which has in some quarters been mistakenly adopted as a precedent for unequal sharing where one party has unarguably been the greater contributor to the marital pot. In this case it was Mrs Sharp and she objected when the first award to her husband was on an equal sharing basis. But even on appeal, the adjustment of the assets in her favour was not great proportionally and the basic principle of equal sharing was preserved, even in a relatively short marriage.
So if you want to insure against what you may consider to be an unjustified sharing of your hard earned wealth in such circumstances, a pre-nuptial agreement would be well advised.