Randy Work, Ryan Giggs and the “special contribution”

A husband who claimed that his former wife should not receive an equal share of his wealth because of his “special financial contribution” has failed in a bid to have an award to his wife overturned.

In 2015 Mr Justice Holman awarded Randy Work’s wife half of his £140 million fortune, rejecting Mr Work’s argument that he had made a special financial contribution towards the marriage. Mr Work appealed, but the Court of Appeal has held that he had failed to show that Mr Justice Holman’s decision was wrong. The appeal was therefore dismissed. The judgment of the Court of appeal can be found here.

It is notoriously difficult to succeed with a “special contribution” claim, and thereby avoid the marital pot being divided equally between the parties. There have only been three reported cases of such claims being successful in the last seventeen years.

Undeterred by that, it has been reported that former footballer Ryan Giggs will argue that he made a “special contribution” to the creation of wealth during his marriage with his wife Stacey. The case is due to be heard before Mr Justice Cobb in the High Court.

It would appear that Ryan Giggs may have an uphill task in persuading the court that he made a “special contribution”, and not just because such claims rarely succeed. In his judgment in 2015 in the Randy Work case Mr Justice Holman made a prescient observation. He said:

“It is clear also that a successful claim to a special contribution requires some exceptional and individual quality in the spouse concerned. Being in the right place at the right time, or benefiting from a period of boom is not enough. It may one day fall for consideration whether a very highly paid footballer, who is very good at his job but may be no more skillful than past greats, such as Stanley Matthews or Bobby Charlton, makes a special contribution or is merely the lucky beneficiary of the colossal payments now made possible by the sale of television rights.”

Was Ryan Giggs merely the lucky beneficiary of the colossal payments now made possible by the sale of television rights, or did he make a “special contribution”? We will have to wait and see, although it could be a while before we find out, as the case is not expected to take place for some time.

If you are involved in financial remedy proceedings following divorce, Family Law Café can help you find the best help and advice. To contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 0208 768 2278.

Image: 11 Ryan Giggs, by Lordcolus, licensed under CC BY 2.0.