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Family law developments in 2019 - sharing and financial contributions on divorce

In the majority of cases contributions are not specifically taken into account unless they are “stellar” or there is a major reason to include them. As such this is not a factor for most divorcing couples.

But what about big money and big contributions? The issue was aired in the case of XW v XH [2017] EWFC 76, where H's business increased dramatically in value during the marriage. Within the divorce  W received  28.75% of the assets. The judge took account of other factors in addition to the husband's special contribution to justify the departure from equality bigger than a two-thirds to one-third split. This could be seen as out of step with the case of 2007 case of Charman  which had suggested that a division based on special contribution was unlikely to be further from equality than two-thirds to one-third.

In the XW v XH case W has filed an appeal, and the hearing to clarify the issues is likely to be in the Summer of 2019. We may expect guidance on what is to be regarded as a short marriage and the approach the court should take to the division of assets – watch this space as the year proceeds.

Ian Stirzaker

Ian is the Senior Partner and Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors. Please contact him or Joanna Gardner for specialist help and advice in all aspects of family law at  or

Added: 08 Jan 2019 16:47

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