Wife fails with argument on sharing of earning capacity

A wife who argued that she should receive a more generous divorce settlement because she should have received a share of the earning capacity her husband had ‘accumulated’ during the marriage has had her appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The court below had made an order awarding some £8.4 million of capital resources to the wife, and  £7.8 million to the husband. In addition, the husband was ordered to pay maintenance to the wife during their joint lives in a sum sufficient to meet the wife’s income needs, which the judge assessed to be £175,000 per year.

Both the wife and the husband appealed against the order.

Amongst the arguments put forward by the wife was that the ‘sharing principle‘, which says that when a marriage ends each party is entitled to an equal share of the assets, unless there is a good reason to the contrary, should apply to the husband’s earning capacity, with the result that she should receive more. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed, Lord Justice Moylan holding that the principle did not apply to earning capacity. The wife’s appeal on this point therefore failed, as did her appeal on the other arguments she put forward.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal allowed the husband’s cross-appeal against the order, deciding that it was not appropriate for the maintenance to continue (potentially) for the rest of the wife’s life (the so-called ‘meal ticket for life‘). Accordingly, the Court of Appeal ordered that the maintenance should end in three years’ time.

You can read the full report of the Court of Appeal’s judgment here.

The case illustrates very clearly the possible complexities involved in financial remedy claims on divorce, and therefore the need to obtain the very best possible advice. Family Law Cafe can help you find that advice. To contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

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Image: share, by airpix, licensed under CC BY 2.0.