The High Court has approved a divorce settlement that shares the couple’s assets 60 – 40 in the husband’s favour, on the basis that it was a fair outcome for both husband and wife.
The couple married in May 2008 and separated in June 2016. They had two children, aged nine and six.
For the last 16 years, the husband had worked in senior positions within an investment bank. He had enjoyed increasingly substantial remuneration packages, which included a significant element of deferred equity participation.
The matrimonial home, in which the wife lived with the children, was worth £5.1m and was subject to a mortgage of just under £2m.
The husband had accepted that the wife should keep the home. He also accepted that the marriage was one of equal contributions. He suggested that there should be a ring-fencing of his post-separation assets, which amounted to some £6.5m.
He proposed a 60 – 40 division of the available assets in his favour, which, with a balancing lump sum payment of £1.78m, would leave the wife with assets of roughly £10.2m.
The court approved the settlement, noting that that there was no serious challenge from the wife to the calculation of his post-separation earnings. Her entitlement to claim any part of the value of those assets had to be based on a legitimate needs-based claim.
The husband’s current proposal met the wife’s needs in relation to both housing and income. His proposal would leave her with just over £10.2m, which represented just under 40% of their available wealth, including the non-matrimonial assets represented by the husband’s post-separation endeavour.
Considering overall fairness, that was an entirely appropriate outcome. It would give the wife the financial flexibility to invest her capital to meet her personal spending requirements as they changed from time to time.
It met in full her future housing and income needs. That was an entitlement which she had earned because of the contributions she had made and would make to the welfare of the family. It reflected the financial impact of both the marriage and the decision to raise a family on her ability to re-establish an independent career while acknowledging the potential of some form of future earning capacity on her part.
It was fair to the husband because the non-matrimonial property had not been invaded. The fact that the wife would depart with a slightly enhanced share of the matrimonial assets was but a reflection of the needs which the marriage, and her contribution to it, had generated.
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