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FINANCIAL PROVISION: S v S (Non-Matrimonial Property: Conduct) [2006] EWHC 2793 (Fam)

Date:10 NOV 2006

(Family Division; Burton J; 10 November 2006)

The husband had brought substantial assets into the marriage; the total net assets were over £7m. The husband had earned considerable sums of money as a chartered surveyor; the wife had given up work before the marriage and there were two young children. The marriage had lasted less than 8 years. There had been considerable tension, including domestic violence by both parties in the course of the marriage and the husband had eventually been sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the wife.

Properties which had been brought into the marriage as investment properties were to be treated as non-matrimonial property, whereas a pension portfolio was to be treated as matrimonial property because it had been liquidated and reformed using the husband's professional skill and judgment as a property expert. The matrimonial property had a total value of about £6m. Because of the husband's substantial financial contribution, it was appropriate to depart from the yardstick of equality, and to award him 60% of the matrimonial property, although he was also ordered to pay the wife's significant debts. It was not accepted that the yardstick was to be applied to the total assets, rather than to the matrimonial property alone. The husband's conduct, although bad, was not so exceptional as to be taken into account.