Woman 'cannot share' ex-husband's fortune 20 years after separation
The Court of Appeal has rejected a woman’s claim that she is entitled to half the fortune her ex-husband amassed in the 20 years after they separated.
The couple were married in 1985 and had two children, but divorced six years later. Their combined assets were divided between them, with the wife getting the family home and a property in France, and the husband paying annual child maintenance. However, the agreement was never made into an official court order.
The husband then went on to amass more than £3m after a successful career in the insurance industry. The wife had not remarried and earned a modest wage as a music teacher.
In 2013, the wife claimed she was entitled to half of her ex-husband’s fortune, as the early stage of his career took part in the years the two were married. She said her contribution of looking after the house and children were a significant factor in the husband being able to progress professionally.
His subsequent success came as a result of his sound reputation in the industry, which was built up while the two were married.
The Court of Appeal rejected the wife’s claims. It stated that the agreement made when the couple first separated had been fair and adequate at the time, and despite never being made into an official court order, both parties had been happy with the terms of the settlement for over twenty years.
Only when the husband’s income increased due to his successful business, did the wife want the agreement revised.
The court ruled that the husband achieved his wealth after the marriage had ended, and it was not fair to say that both parties had equally contributed to his success.
Please contact Kathryn Ainsworth or Liz Oldham for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.