(Family Division, Moylan J, 22 November 2016)
Financial remedies – Computation – Onshore and offshore property owning companies – Dispute as to beneficial ownership of shares – Whether assets were marital – Tax liabilities
The husband and wife were married for 34 years and had two adult children together. When the marriage broke down the wife applied for financial remedies. An agreed asset schedule revealed total assets of approx. £55m. Largely the assets were held in a number of onshore and offshore property owning companies. Some of the shares of which were held in the wife’s name.
The husband asserted that his father had made substantial gifts to him which signified non-marital wealth and justified a departure from the principle of equality.
The court found that: there had been no relevant non-disclosure by either party; the wife was the beneficial owner of shares held in her name; due to there having already been a significant element of reattribution of sums spent by the husband, his conduct did not justify any further add-back; the husband had failed to prove his case on non-marital contributions.Due to the need for an assessment of the tax liabilities, which would be broadly shared, final orders could not yet be made.