How much a wife receives in a U.K. divorce depends on several circumstances, including her needs, assets and earning potential. Other factors include her age, her standard of living prior to the divorce, the duration of the marriage, special needs, and her contributions in terms of housekeeping or child rearing.
If the marriage between a young couple is short-lived, it is likely that both the husband and wife each take away from the marriage what they brought into it with neither spouse paying maintenance support. This is especially true if the couple has no children.
However, if the couple has been married for a significant length of time, and if the wife took care of the children and managed the household while the husband worked outside the home, she is often granted up to half of the couple's joint assets, including her husband's future earnings and pension. She is sometimes granted a significant asset such as a house in lieu of future earnings. If dependent children are involved, and if the wife is awarded custody, then the children's needs are dealt with separately and as a matter of priority.
It is important to note that each case is decided differently. The general expectation that a wife is automatically entitled to half of her husband's pension is false, according to Terry & Co Solicitors. If the wife is granted the marital home because she needs it to take care of the children, the husband is harmed unduly if she also is granted half his pension when there are no other substantial assets to divide.