We study static distributions of ferrofluid submitted to non-uniform magnetic fields. We show how the normal-field instability is modified in the presence of a weak magnetic field gradient. Then we consider a ferrofluid droplet and show how the gradient affects its shape. A rich phase transition phenomenology is found. We also investigate the creation of droplets by successive splits when a magnet is vertically approached from below and derive theoretical expressions which are solved numerically to obtain the number of droplets and their aspect ratio as a function of the field configuration. A quantitative comparison is performed with previous experimental results, as well as with our own experiments, and yields good agreement with the theoretical modelling.