In the case of L v M the Court considered whether a Separation Agreement should be upheld between Husband and Wife.
The Husband and Wife were married in January 2008. There was one child of the marriage.
The Husband did not spend much time in England in any given year and spent the majority of his time in Africa.
The parties subsequently separated after 2 years of marriage and the Wife filed a divorce petition in May 2010 on the basis of the Husband’s adultery.
The parties both signed a Separation Agreement and a Consent Order in August 2010, setting out the agreement in respect of the finances.
The Consent Order provided for the Husband to pay to the Wife a lump sum of £2 million.
It was also agreed that the Husband would pay to the Wife Global Maintenance in the sum of £13,333.00 per month, until the payment of the lump sum in full.
The Husband paid the maintenance until May 2012. However, from May 2012 until December 2012, the Husband reduced the maintenance to £10,000.00 per month.
Thereafter, the Husband subsequently ceased the monthly maintenance payments.
The Husband reinstated the maintenance payments in April 2013 in the sum of £6,000.00 per month.
In May 2010 the Wife applied to the Court for an Order that the Husband to show why he should not be held to the Separation Agreement.
The Wife claimed that the Husband had sought legal advice, both in Africa and England after he was served with the Divorce Petition. However, the Husband denied he had received any legal advice.
The Husband stated that he lacked legal advice in respect of the Separation Agreement and Consent Order and there had been a change in circumstances and insufficiency of funds.
The Court ruled that on the balance of probabilities the Husband had received at least some legal advice as to the financial consequences of a divorce, not only in Africa, but also in London. Certainly he had ample opportunity to seek legal advice.
The Court stated that even if the Husband had not had legal advice, he had entered into the agreement freely with a full appreciation of its implications.
In 2010, the Husband had been wholly content with the provision of the agreement and they had sat comfortably with the worth and substance of his financial resources.
The Court stated that even if the Husband had not received legal advice that would have been very much his decision.
The Court held that the Husband had failed to persuade the Court he should not be held to the Separation Agreement.
Accordingly, the Court confirmed the Husband should be held to the Separation Agreement.
Family Law Solicitors Eastbourne, Hailsham, Polegate and Meads
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