In the case of Robertson v. Robertson the Court looked at the impact of non-matrimonial property in divorce proceedings.
The Husband and Wife met in 2002 and subsequently married in 2004.
The parties separated in 2013 and the Wife petitioned for a Divorce and applied to the Court to resolve the finances in 2014.
When the parties commenced cohabitation, the Husband owned 9.9 million shares in ASOS, which was a company he had founded in 1996 and subsequently launched in the year 2000.
The Wife did not work during the marriage or have any involvement in ASOS, but was the homemaker and primary carer of the parties’ two children.
The Husband argued that his shares in ASOS (and the shares he had recently sold to purchase properties in Wimbledon) were the same ones he had accrued prior to the marriage and therefore they should be considered as non-matrimonial property.
Whilst the Wife agreed that the actual value of the shares at the beginning of the relationship plus a value for passive growth should be non-matrimonial property, she argued that the active growth in the shares should be considered matrimonial property.
An accountant assessed that the value of the shares (taking into account passive growth) at the start of the relationship in 2002 was £4.84 million.
The parties’ assets amounted to £219.5 million.
Therefore, the Wife proposed she should receive £107.33 million (which is half the overall value of the assets, less the £4.84 million for the value of the shares prior to the marriage). This would provide the Wife with 49% of the assets.
The Husband argued that the Wife should receive £30.26 million, which was the value of the overall assets, less the shares and his properties in Wimbledon.
The Court confirmed that the Wife’s argument was unfair on the Husband.
Therefore the Court considered the relevant factors in this case to determine the appropriate division of the assets and how the Husband’s shareholding should be treated.
The Court felt that this case justified a departure from equality to reflect the amount of work the Husband had undertaken to start the business before the marriage.
However, the Court also had to consider that the shares were still used as a family asset, with the Husband drawing on them for the benefit of the family.
As such, the Court felt that half the shares should be considered matrimonial property and the other half non-matrimonial property.
In view of this, it was calculated that £80,484,865.00 (which was half the value the shares and property in Wimbledon) should be deducted from the overall assets.
This left the sum of £139,014.814.00 to be divided between the parties.
Therefore, the Wife received an award of £69,507,407.00.
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