(Family Division, Bodey J, 6 April 2017)
Financial remedies – Sharing case – Special contribution – Value and division of assets
A financial remedies order was made on the basis of an equal sharing of the matrimonial assets
The Malaysian husband and wife were married in 1970 in Malaysia. During the marriage the wife obtained Australian and Canadian citizenship after spending significant period of time living in those jurisdictions with the five children. The marriage broke down in 2012 and the wife initiated divorce proceedings in the UK in 2014.
A number of hearings had taken place since then and the issues that now fell to be determined were the value, content and division of the assets. The wife sought an equal division of the total assets which she asserted were worth £205.8m. The husband offered £15m including £5.98m which had already been awarded to her by way of maintenance pending suit and legal services payment orders. He asserted that this was a needs not a sharing case.Bodey J held that in circumstances where the parties had been married for 42 years and they had five children together this was plainly a sharing case. It could not be disputed that the husband had been a hugely successful businessman but when that substantial contribution was pitched against the wife’s substantial contribution as a mother and home maker, there could be no departure from equality based upon their respective contributions to the marriage. The total assets amounted to just over £161m. The husband’s interest in land in the UK, Canada and Australia would be transferred to the wife plus a lump sum of £40.6m. There would be a deduction in respect of the amounts the wife had already received.