Divorce and Finances
In the case of V v V , The Family Division allowed an appeal by a husband against a decision not to award a charge back on a lump sum awarded to the wife. The court agreed the judge had made an error in the weight she gave to a marriage settlement the parties entered into before they married.
The couple had one child together before deciding to get married. The husband already had a certain level of wealth before the relationship started and was ten years older than his partner. The husband requested they enter a pre-nuptial agreement. The wife had no objections, allowing the husband to keep all the property he had before the marriage. After they married the couple went on to have a second child before separating. At this point nearly 90% of the couple’s assets were in the husband’s name.
In divorce proceedings the wife was awarded a lump sum of £667,100 plus assets in her name which gave her capital of £800,000. She was also to receive periodical payments of £30,000. The judge said that she could give only limited weight to the pre-nuptial agreement. The judge did not allow a charge back to the husband on the property to be purchased by the wife with the lump sum.
The husband appealed submitting that he should have charge back on the property in his favour. The appeal was allowed. The marriage agreement should have been taken into proper consideration in light of recent case law as both parties had entered into it honestly, freely and knowingly.
When assessing the sharing principal and the contributions made, the pre-nuptial agreement gave a good reason for departing from the sharing principal for an equal division of assets. The judge therefore ordered a charge back of 33.3% of the lump sum.