Hello and thanks for your question.
Once a divorce petition has been filed at court, either side can apply to court to decide how the matrimonial assets should be divided, if a couple cannot agree between themselves. The matrimonial assets are everything in your name, everything in her name, and everything you own jointly. Pensions count as a matrimonial asset.
You do not have to agree to 50% - unless that would be a fair division. You can negotiate between yourselves or via solicitors' correspondence, or via mediation. Any agreement reached needs to be on the same principles that a court would decide the issues or you risk the agreement being overturned at a later date. The court requires that both of you give full fiancial disclsuure to the other ie full details of all your finances. The court starts from the position that everything should be divided 50:50 - then considers reasons why that should not be the case eg if one party has a significantkly lower income than the other, then they can argue for a greater than 50% share of the assets, or - as in your case - if one party is providing a hoem for dependent children, then again, they can argue for more then 50% share of the assets eg 60%, 65% but rarely more than 70%.
The court is keen for children not to be disrupted if at all possible, so if tehre is a way that the children can continue to live in the former matrimonial home, the court will make the approiate finacial order - so you need to go to an independent financal adviser and see how much you could raise to buy her out, and then see if she will accept an offer from you for that amount - but in you rnegitaitiosn, makae sure you consider ALL the assets that you have between you. The court does not consider the house in isolation, and neither should you when negotiating.
If you can reach agreement between you, that agreement can be made into a legally-binding agreement called a consent order by a solicitor preparing a draft consent order which you both sign, which is then sent to court for the court's approval - but ONLY if a divorce petition has already been filed at court. The court's powers to made financial and property orders in a family cases only comes into play once a divorce petition has been filed at court.
Going to court is stressful, time-consuming and expensive, to be avoided if at all possible. The family court anyway now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court. Here's where to find a local family mediation service:-
I think you would benefit from some face-to-face legal advice - here's where to find a specialist family law solicitor:
I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.
Thanks and best wishes...