The media are hailing it as a landmark case, but surely, in this day and age, it was only a matter of time before common sense came to the fore in cases where former wives of wealthy husbands expect to be financially supported in perpetuity. Continue reading →
As Michael and Yasmin Prest’s high profile divorce financial settlement claim was nearing its final hearing in the Supreme Court – with its potential to change the way family law rulings in England and Wales see the use of company or family law in determining financial settlements on divorce for the super-rich – Healys’ divorce lawyers in London looked at why London has been seen as the “divorce capital of the world”.
White v White made wealthy husbands see red
In 2000 the landmark case of White v White saw the principle introduced whereby surplus wealth, attributable to the money-earning spouse (usually the husband), was not arbitrarily left with that spouse once each party’s “needs”, based on providing housing and income from capital, had been met.
The House of Lords ruled in accordance with the Court of Appeal in emphasising a partnership model for the division of matrimonial property. In the first instance, on the basis of satisfying Mrs White’s needs, the court ruled that she should be awarded £980,000. In the Court of Appeal Mrs White’s divorce lawyers argued that, as the matrimonial wealth had been built up in a farming concern and Mrs White had worked hard to contribute to the success of the business, she should receive benefit from the assets as a business partner would.
The residual wealth was then split between the parties after the assessment for needs and Mrs White was awarded £1.7million.
As a result of the House of Lords upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal there was an unprecedented change in the direction of family law and wives of wealthy men became able to argue that the role of homemaker should be afforded parity when considering the division of family wealth.
In 2012, a Law Commission consultation on marital property agreements in English and Welsh family law cited White v White as one of the major reasons that wives (usually) of high earners want to have their divorces heard in London. The report stated that “English law has come to be perceived as more generous than the law elsewhere”.
Prest v Prest has the potential to change the way divorce financial settlements will be ruled upon in the future and divorce lawyers in London will be eager to see the impact this high-profile, high-value case has on family law in England and Wales.
Healys divorce lawyers in London for expert litigation services in divorce
Most couples will not be fighting over millions of pounds’ worth of assets when they get divorced, but even a modest amount of wealth can produce dispute as to who gets what. Here at Healys we believe that by listening carefully to our clients’ individual circumstances we can help them achieve the best outcome for their situation and we will use robust litigation techniques to achieve this, if necessary.
To discuss your application for ancillary relief (financial settlement on divorce), or if you wish to defend a claim, why not speak to Healys divorce lawyers in London. All our solicitors are members of Resolution and will, wherever possible, uphold its ethos of conciliatory divorce negotiations, but we know that when things get tough we have the resources and the experience to offer forceful representation through the court system.
For more advice please call our London or Brighton family law teams today.