Family, Divorce and Finance
In the case of B V S (Financial Remedy: Marital Property Regime) , the Family Division ruled that no weight would be given to a default matrimonial regime or a post marital agreement made in a third country.
The wife was born in Spain. The husband was born in another country referred to in the case as A.
The couple married in Spain in 1995 and went on to have two children. In 2000 the couple moved to country A where the husband bought an apartment. In the September the couple entered into a separation of property agreement to deal with the ownership of the apartment which would otherwise have been dealt with by a default community of property regime of country A.
In 2006 the marriage broke down. The couple remained living together for three years until the wife began divorce proceedings.
An important issue to be determined was the weight to be given to the default marital property regime of where they married and the alleged agreement they entered in respect of the property in country A. The husband argued that the couple had a mutual understanding from the outset that they would adopt a ‘separation of property’ and that the wife’s inheritance and the rest of their property would be held by each of them individually.
The judge ruled not to give any weight to the default regime under which they married or the agreement made in country A. The issues in this case were governed exclusively by English law. Although they had an understanding at the start of the marriage in Spain this could not be extended to the consequences of divorcing in a different country. It was also ruled that neither party entered the agreement in country A with a full understanding of it’s implications as the parties had not intended it to alter their understanding of the Spanish law under which they married.