This might be a touchy subject and I’m not sure if it is the right place to post it. But here goes…

My wife has had an affair and although we are trying to work through the aftermath I am finding it difficult to trust and to forgive and ultimately we may end up getting a divorce.

I imagine there are a few folk on here that have gone through the divorce process and I am wondering how best to protect my interests.

I theory I think the rule is everything 50/50 split but is there a way to protect pension?

Any insights or advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Nick

Hi Nick,
Sorry for your troubles, it is tough.
Mine was a process started in 2001 and concluded in 2002, however I have subsequently helped my sister out with her divorce back in 2014, after she found out her husband was having an affair in 2010.

I believe it depends very much on the length of the marriage, your financial situation before marriage, who was earning what during the married period, children, and assets. However it is much more pragmatic than just straight 50/50 split.

For instance, my sister had met her former husband at University so their careers were formed together and everything they had obtained was joint. There was also the time she had out of her career to have 2 children and be at home during pre-school and then part-time during Primary schooling - so she has the equity in the family home, and a 50% chunk of his pension, plus maintenance for the kids until 18 which also covers the mortgage payments on the family home. What happens once the kids reach 18, and those payments stop, but she has changed job and is trying to restart her path up a career ladder, but still very tough and difficult.

I already had a house, wasn’t married for long, had bought a 2nd house while married, had a child, sold the 1st house on relocating to Ireland - so the 2nd house served as a part settlement, along with maintenance arrangement for our child, under Joint Custody. There was no Pension provision, as there was a one-off settlement.

So you have to consider where you are in life, what is more important o you, but also remember that the court does not seem fault, it recognizes abandonment of child and the father’s right to support but also to have access (unless there are other factors around safety etc.)
Also remember that when you do engage a solicitor they are paid by the hour and by the letter - so try not to have your arguments via solicitor’s letters - it gets very expensive, and they are happy to let it.

So, if you could come to a framework agreement re. a settlement with your now estranged wife, then take that to the solicitors and ask them to draw it up, and get it agreed with the other side, then apply to the courts to process the divorce, you could get away without being present as everything is agreed up front and the court process is a rubber stamp exercise.

All the best and good luck.


As Simon says the starting point is a 50/50 split but is then adjusted according to the situation both parties find themselves in. The fact that you say your wife has been unfaithful gives you grounds for divorce but that does not affect the financial settlement in any way, she won’t get punished by the court for her infidelity. Also, assuming you’re in England, you will have to try mediation before the court will consider a hearing on finances so if you and your wife can agree a settlement it will make things a whole lot quicker, easier and cheaper.

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Hi Simon,

Thank you for all the advice. I will certainly take note.

My children are grown up and we have a family home plus three rentals so I think we can reach a sensible agreement, although I would like to secure more than 50 % of the pension fund.

Regards, Nick

Hi elverdiblanco,

Understood. I am in England.
I know that the 50/50 rule applies and there is no fault prescribed by the courts.
It is going to get sensitive as my wife also has a villa in her name plus her name on all her mums accounts. Therefore by the rule of law a proportion of all that goes into the pot although that may not be an honourable approach although it could be leverage.

It’s natural to feel hurt, but you can get over that and lack of trust. What matters most is to be happy and only you and your wife know whether that is possible. There are usually reasons why things happen and just breaking up is not in itself going bring happiness.



I’m sure it’s not the time and place for comment, but I have to say:
Now I see how useful it is to tell wife that I paid Atom 300Eur and Supernait 250…


Yes, as part of the process there has to be full financial disclosure of all assets & debts.
However if you can circumvent that, with a settlement you both are happy with & agree to, the process can be directed accordingly.

Given there are no dependents under 18 anymore.

However I have heard of assets being adjusted prior to disclosure (transferred out of names to others) so if you think it is going to get dirty and nasty, take copies of records now, so you have something to fall back as evidence later on.
Better to be prepared for the worst and find it isn’t than be under prepared and it is.


With due respect to the advice already received, you need, urgently, to consult a solicitor about this. Anecdotal advice from a hi-fi forum, however well intentioned, is neither sufficient nor reliable (imho).


Just try and keep it amicable and avoid a bun fight or feeding aggressive lawyers.


I live in the States, and whilst I don’t know what a “bun fight” is, the advice to avoid feeding aggressive lawyers is spot on.

(I’m divorced and remarried, happily on both accounts. My legal advice, living in the States, probably isn’t of much help unfortunately.)

Best of luck, @Elkman70


It’s slang for an aggressive argument between the two parties.

Then yes avoid those too! Nothing good comes of it.

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Sorry to hear the position. I have two experiences, one my own, and the other my brother.

With mine, we had everything joint/shared, but it was amicable - although we reached the point of separating at the start of divorce proceeding and have never met since, and she used a solicitor and I didn’t, we basically split everything 50:50 though recognising some things were really ‘hers’ and others ‘mine’ (hifi mine, but a good few valuable records hers): no argument. (No children, and we had enough cats.) she had clearly instructed her lawyer to keep it fair, and I think only used one because she didn’t want to be directly involved.

My brother, however, was taken to the cleaners by his ex-wife and her expensive lawyers - she came from a wealthy background (though financially the marriage was about equal). Even though the cause was her having an affair, and my brother had custody of the children, and she had a job as a teacher, she had an alimony settlement, and her lawyers demanded more every time my brother got a pay rise (he worked in the public sector, so she knew whenever that happened). She will get half the house if he ever sells it, and she even managed to get a clause through where she was entitled to a half share of my brother’s pension, whether or not he remarried, as long as she didn’t marry, so now he is retired he is on a pretty tight budget, and daren’t even consider selling the house either to move away or to downsize. 10 years later she isn’t married, but has lives with the person she had an affair with, having moved in with him immediately.

So, my advice would be to protect what you can immediately just in case - split any joint accounts etc. Try to have neither of you use lawyers - they can be the source of ideas to benefit their client without the slightest care for the other party. In Britain at least, if there is nothing complicating matters, e.g. like children, and if the divorcing couple are capable of talking (or writing) and agreeing, then it is perfectly possible and quite straightforward without a lawyer. But if she gets one and demands start ramping up, get yourself the very best one you can afford - you might not be able to afford not to. (And if the lawyer demands more than you think is fair for you, you can always backtrack just before it is signed sealed and delivered).

Good luck if it goes to divorce.

But some people find a future - a happy one - even after an affair, despite how impossible it may seem. In part that may depend on the circumstances of the affair, and how much you the two of you want it to work (and maybe at the early stage, how much she actually wants it to work). If that is even a possibility, if you still have feelings for her and wish it was different, and if she clearly wants to get through this, then I urge you to try marriage guidance counselling - Relate or whatever they call themselves. It worked for a close friend of mine, he being the one that had an affair, and now he and his wife are stronger and closer that ever before.

Good luck if you try to find a new future together,


Having been married 3 times I should be an expert at this but I’m not. Truth is what works for one might not necessarily work for another. The one thing I can tell you is that as others have stated keep the lawyers out of it as much as possible. Also it’s important to remember that you will recover and things will get better.

By the way, Mrs Pete the Painter the 3rd and I have been happily married for over 20 years.


Hi,I was married to a head teacher with a good salary,full pension etc.She had an affair,and we did get divorced,after 28yrs of marriage,obviously kids were grown up so not an issue.However,be very careful if you end up with divorce proceedings,despite having comparable salaries,the ex took around 40% of my pension.There’s no such thing as equality,despite what we are led to believe,these situations almost always favour the woman.Like Pete,I too got remarried to a fantastic lady,now only in our 7th year,but I believe everything happens for a reason,good luck !


having been through it, the best advice is to keep talking and be friends, avoid solicitors if poss. Its hard to remember the reason you got together in the first place, and thats the point to focus on and not get bitter about where you are now. all the best and stay calm


Plus 1 on this. It may well be a time for principles above personalities. All the best.

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Thank you very much for all the advice. I hear it load and clear about keeping it amicable and keeping the lawyers away. I think the honourable way is to keep it all 50/50.
Regards, Nick

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Nick, have either of you, or both of you together, sought help through counselling?