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Edward Bennett
Edward Bennett
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WM v HM [2017] EWFC 25
Date:16 MAY 2017
Third slide
Law Reporter

(Family Court, Mostyn J, 9 May 2017)

Financial remedies – Special contribution – Extent of non-matrimonial assets

The wife was awarded £73m in financial remedy proceedings.

The husband and wife were in a relationship for 29 years and they had two, now adult, children. Prior to the relationship the husband founded a business which became very successful and was now worth in the region of £182m net of latent taxes and employed 500 staff. The family owned several properties and enjoyed a high standard of living.

When the relationship broke down the wife applied for financial remedies. The husband argued for a departure from equality on the basis that the business was founded prior to the relationship commencing and that he had made a special contribution.

Applying a linear evaluation the judge determined that £44m of the business was attributed as a non-matrimonial element, representing the husband’s contribution prior to the commencement of the marriage.

While making £145m over the course of a long marriage was a highly creditable achievement it did not meet the standard of rarity needed to justify a highly discriminatory unequal division of the product of the matrimonial partnership.

It was appropriate in all of the circumstances for the wife to receive an equal share of the £182m matrimonial resources, namely £72,876,484. The husband had planned to sell the business upon his retirement which was envisaged to be in about 7 years’. The minority of the wife’s award would be met with an enlarged shareholding of the business and equated to 26% of her award which was not unreasonable.

In calculating the net assets the latent tax had to be assessed on the basis that a very large dividend would be paid in order to give the husband the means to pay the wife a substantial lump sum, while at the same time allowing him to continue working in and on the business. The dividend tax rate of 38.1% was higher than the capital gains tax rate of 20%. That meant that the overall net value of the assets was slightly less that it would have been on a notional immediate sale, and that the value of the wife's share was correspondingly less but in all the circumstances that was not unreasonable.

Neutral Citation Number: [2017] EWFC 25
Case No: BV15D07863
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 09/05/2017


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Martin Pointer QC, Rebecca Carew Pole and Kyra Cornwall (instructed by Boodle Hatfield) for the Applicant
Lewis Marks QC and Katie Cowton (instructed by RadcliffesLeBrasseur) for the Respondent

Hearing dates: 28 February – 3 March 2017

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Approved Judgment

I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this Judgment and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic.



This judgment was delivered in private. The judge directs that this anonymised version of the judgment may be published. No report may identify the parties.

WM v HM [2017] EWFC 25.pdf

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