Divorcing couple share marital assets after long bitter battle
The Family Court has divided a divorcing couple’s marital assets in roughly equal shares, although they had spent so much on their acrimonious dispute that there was very little money left.
The couple had been married for nearly 22 years and had three children before separating and embarking on financial remedy proceedings.
There had been 13 oral hearings, an aborted five-day trial and four applications by the husband for permission to appeal. Legal costs totalled £594,000; however, the only liquid asset was £630,000 from the sale of the former marital home.
At the centre of the dispute were two companies, referred to as A Ltd and B Ltd, founded by the wife's parents. The wife held 24% of the shares in both companies.
In 2005 the husband became the managing director of B Ltd. During the separation period the wife had considered retaining the marital home by redeeming the mortgage and buying out the husband with a £350,000 payment.
In October 2018 the husband was arrested after B Ltd made allegations of financial misfeasance against him.
A pre-trial review order set out allegations by the wife that the husband had misappropriated their children's money.
Further complicated court proceedings followed and eventually at a financial disputes resolution hearing, the husband agreed not to claim that the wife's business interests were matrimonial and the wife agreed not to rely on the husband's conduct as managing director or the alleged misappropriation of the children's money.
The court was tasked with dividing what was left of their remaining assets.
From the proceeds of sale of the marital home, after deducting £33,000 owed to the wife's brother, the husband would receive £377,000 and the wife £220,500.
After payment of debts, including legal costs, the husband would have liquid assets of £5,423. He had a mortgage capacity of £128,000 and, in October 2021, could realise £125,000 as a tax-free pension lump sum.
The wife would have £5,368 and mortgage capacity of £132,000. The court was satisfied that her family would ensure the shortfall would be made up to buy suitable accommodation.
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Case Citations:  EWFC 41RM v TM (2020) Fam Ct (Robert Peel QC)
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