Everyone will have heard by now the ruling in the case of the Sharps. The couple were married for 5 years and had no children.

The usual starting point for splitting assets on divorce is one of equality. Especially when there are no children and both parties are earning. Family lawyers have been watching this case intently as the decision may affect how we are able to advise in these matters.

The wife, Mrs Sharp, was a successful energy trader and received millions of pounds in bonuses throughout her marriage to Mr Sharp who worked in IT. She has managed to successfully argue that her husband should not automatically receive 50% of the assets and the Court of Appeal agreed with her. The Court of Appeal ordered on Tuesday that he should receive £2m of the estimated £5.45m. This was contrary to the decision of the High Court which ordered that she pay £2.75 million.

Mrs Sharp's lawyers successfully argued that the majority of the assets were accumulated by her and therefore it would be unfair to order that the husband would receive half. This is a major step away from previous cases we have seen where an equal split has been ordered even if one party was the major breadwinner.

It shows that the appeal route can change a case significantly and this result mostly probably came as a shock to those advising the husband. Family lawyers will now need to look at the assets in the case and how these were accumulated, especially with short, childless marriages.

Watch this space.....