Whether the wealth the Husband brought into the marriage was matrimonial or non-matrimonial property
In the case of S V S, the Court needed to determine the Wife’s share in the parties overall assets.
The Husband and Wife married in 2003.
The Husband bought a substantial amount of wealth into the marriage (£13 million).
The overall assets of £25 million, was accumulated as a result of the Husband.
The wealth comprised of two properties and the Husband’s business.
The date of cohabitation was disputed. The Husband said late 1997, but the Wife said October 1995.
The importance of the date of cohabitation was that during 1996 the Husband was engaged in negotiating the sale of company K Ltd. This produced the sum of £8 million, which was placed into another company, H Ltd.
The Wife argued that the sale proceeds of K Ltd were matrimonial property. The Husband disagreed.
The Wife issued a divorce petition in 2013 and applied for financial relief.
The Wife sought 33 to 40% of the overall assets, leaving her with £8.7 million, on a clean break basis and with no order as to costs.
The Husband argued that this was a needs case as the wealth he bought into the marriage, coupled with its growth, meant there was not any matrimonial property. He stated all the assets were non matrimonial property.
The Husband offered to pay the Wife £3.5 million.
The matter came before the Court.
The Court considered the issues in dispute in order to determine the amount payable to the Wife.
The Court held that the most likely date the party’s commenced cohabitation was late 1996.
The Court considered that the sale negotiations of K Ltd had been in place before the parties had entered into a settled relationship. It stated that the fact the deal was completed and the money paid to the Husband during the party’s relationship, did not make it matrimonial property.
Taking into account all factors, the Court considered that the sum of £6 million represented matrimonial property.
It was considered that half of the matrimonial property (£3 million) would not be sufficient to meet the Wife’s needs.
Therefore, after assessing the Wife’s needs, it was held a lump sum of £5.6 million should be awarded. This was 22% of the overall assets and considered a fair outcome in the circumstances.
If you need assistance in respect of your matrimonial affairs, whether this is in respect of issues concerning a divorce and the related financial aspects, children, injunctions or cohabitation disputes, please contact our offices on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment.
Please note that the family department offer a free initial 30 minute interview to provide general advice and guidance in relation to your matter.