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Property tycoon successfully retains pre-marital wealth

View profile for Lisa Collins
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The Court of Appeal has recently ruled a wealthy property tycoon can keep the majority of the £2.6m he acquired prior to his marriage in 1987. This is notwithstanding the significant length of time the couple had been married before separating (in 2015) and the Court’s starting position that the assets of a marriage should be divided equally. 

By the time of their separation, the tycoon’s fortune had increased to in excess of £9.4m. An equal division would therefore have provided each of them with £4.7m. The Judge originally dealing with the case departed from this and instead awarded the wife £3.5m, believing this to better reflect what was fair and reasonable, having regard to all of the circumstances of the case. 

A partnership of equals?

The ex wife was unhappy with this decision and proceeded to argue there should be an equal division as the marriage was “a partnership of equals”. 

Which is the correct approach? Should the tycoon keep the wealth he acquired before marriage or should it be shared? Well….a married couple is thought to acquire assets together or, “as a team”. Further, the longer a couple has been married, the more likely it is a court will deem that couple as sharing everything, however and whenever it accrued. This would suggest the ex wife is right to voice her concerns. I suspect, however, the Judge in this case was swayed not only by the significance of the assets brought to the marriage but also by the fact that, all things considered, the amount awarded to the ex-wife has provided her with more than sufficient to continue to live a very comfortable life. Had her financial needs not been met (for example, had she not been able to afford to buy a property to live in) I believe the outcome could have been very different. 

If you are going through a separation or divorce and are unsure about what you may be entitled to receive, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team of divorce lawyers by telephoning 01245 453846 and we would be happy to guide you through the process.