As a general rule, on a divorce the assets of the parties will be divided equally unless there is a good reason why one party should receive more.
In a recent Family Court case the husband sought to argue that there were indeed good reasons why he should receive more.
The case concerned a couple who began living together in about the year 2000 (the wife said it was 1999, and the husband said it was in 2001). Whenever it was, at that time neither of them had any material financial resources.
They were married in 2004 and had three children. The marriage broke down in 2019 and divorce proceedings took place. The wife issued a financial remedies application, and this was heard by Mr Justice Moor.
As Mr Justice Moor explained, the wife is a home-maker and child-carer. The husband, on the other hand, has had a very successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, amassing a substantial fortune. By the time of the divorce the couple’s assets totalled some £284 million.
The husband put forward two arguments why he should receive more than half of the assets: that he had made a ‘special contribution’, and that he had generated a significant proportion of the family wealth after the parties separated.
Mr Justice Moor did not find either of the arguments to be made out.
As to special contribution, we need not go into detail, either of the law or of the husband’s business achievements. Suffice to say that Mr Justice Moor did not consider that the husband’s contribution was so special as to justify him receiving more than half.
As to the ‘post-separation endeavour’ issue, the husband’s argument was that at the time of the separation his interest in the business was worth some £33 million, whereas when it was sold in 2022, it was worth over £250 million, an increase due to his setting up a new business after the parties separated.
Again, the details of the husband’s argument need not be set out here. Essentially, Mr Justice Moor found that the husband had not set up a new business after the separation – the business was the same one that was created during the marriage.
In the circumstances, there were no reasons to depart from an equal division of the assets between the husband and the wife, and accordingly that is what Mr Justice Moor ordered.
You can read the full judgment here.
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