Changes To The 50/50 Sharing Principle In Divorces Cases

21st June 2017 by

The case of Julie Sharp and her ex-husband Robin Sharp was widely reported in the news on 14 June 2017. This case related to a short marriage of six years in duration, with the parties having no children together.

Save for the matrimonial properties, the parties kept their assets separate and they did not have a joint bank account. The wife received large bonuses and at the time of divorce had in excess of £10,000,000 in savings. The husband was seeking 50% of the savings relying on the case of Miller V Miller. He argued that the £10,000,000 was built up during the marriage and should therefore be divided equally.

Lord Justice McFarlane said the facts of the case triggered a plain exception to the 50/50 sharing principle and that in fact, effectively, all of the property was generated by the wife. He concluded that in short marriages, with no children, both parties having a reasonable income and parties keeping their finances separate, there can be departure from the equal sharing principle to achieve fairness between the parties. The husband in fact only received a settlement of £2,000,000 made up of a £1,100,000 house and £900,000 capital.

This case will be of interest to parties who have been married for a relatively short period of time provided they do not have children, both have careers and they do not merge their finances.  If you require further information on this topic please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or e-mail on catherine.taylor@healys.com.