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Marital Assets

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  • A short judgment dealing with an ancillary dispute. After a final order had been approved, a question remained as to what security should be provided by the husband. The parties had failed to agree the terms of the security. Lieven J identified disputes as to (a) whether the security should be discharged when the lump sum against which it was charged was paid; (b) the precise terms of the charges; and (c) the particular properties to be charged. She decided that once the lump sum in question had been paid the security in respect of that lump sum would be discharged. The properties to form the security would be as set out in the consent order. She approved the charge drawn in the form drafted by the husband, with his amendments being applied but not the wife's. In her view, the issues around security had spiralled entirely out of control, but she made no order for costs, it not being possible to tell on the material before her where any unreasonable conduct lay. Judgment, 08/10/2020, free
  • The husband appealed from a financial remedy order made in February 2020, on the ground that the judge had failed to assess or take into account the husband's needs and only considered the wife's needs. Part of the order had been for the husband to sell a property in Miami, with the wife to receive the lump sum. The day before the hearing the court – and the husband's own solicitors – learned that the husband's beneficial interest in that property had been transferred to his mother. In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had been entitled to take the husband's litigation conduct into account. The disparity in outcome could be justified in this case. The judge had found that the burden of maintaining the children was likely to be met by the wife. Moylan LJ did not accept the submission that the judge's consideration of the husband's needs had been inadequate. Patten LJ and Newey LJ agreed. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 25/09/2020, free
  • The wife made an application to implement the terms of a consent order. The husband cross-applied, to have the order implemented in a different manner. The premise of the consent order had been that two valuable properties in London and New York constituted matrimonial property, and their value would be aggregated with a third property, the overall value being divided equally between the parties. In Mostyn J's judgment, the true facts on which he had made the consent order had not been known by either the parties or the court at the time the order was made, and had the true facts been known (regarding the trusts involved, which were not capable of being collapsed or dissolved) he would have made a materially different order. The order was set aside. Judgment, 09/09/2020, free
  • An appeal by the husband against the final order made by a district judge in an application for financial remedies. The parties had married in 2013 and separated in 2018, and in the course of the marriage the wife had received a large settlement from the NHS in compensation for clinical negligence. The husband argued that the final order was unfair because it departed from equality in giving 99% of the assets to the wife, that the district judge had gone too far in making allowances for the wife being a litigant in person, that the district judge's assessment of the party's respective needs was flawed, and that the district judge should have taken into account the wife's post-separation spending. HHJ Vincent decided that the appeal should be allowed. The district judge's decision to admit at the last minute an extract from counsel’s advice in respect of the clinical negligence claim had been wrong. The damages award formed part of the matrimonial assets. The district judge had fallen into error in her assessment of the parties’ respective needs, and in concluding that the wife’s needs outweighed the consideration of the husband’s needs, leading her to make an award which was unfair. HHJ Vincent's substituted assessment differed from the district judge's in one regard: a property in Spain would be sold and the proceeds split fifty-fifty. Judgment, 02/07/2020, free
  • A judgment following the final hearing in financial remedy proceedings. The couple were married in 2017, and separated the same year according to the husband, but in 2018 according to the wife. They continued to live separately under the same roof. In the view of District Judge John Smart, the husband seemed to have spent substantially on enlarging the matrimonial home to accommodate the wife and her son, while the wife made no substantial contribution to the welfare of the family. The district judge was not convinced that the wife's indebtedness should be cleared by the husband. He did not find that the husband or his solicitors had exacerbated her Complex PTSD, and he rejected other allegations of misconduct. Although the family home was to be treated as matrimonial property, their contributions were not equal, and a significant departure from equal sharing was required in fairness. A split of 20% of the net assets would be right. The husband would have to raise the sum of £110,000 within a year or the family home would have to be sold. There would not be a pension sharing order; the parties had not sought such an order and almost all of the pension accrual was pre-marital. The husband would pay interim maintenance/periodical payments at £12,000 per year to the wife for the first year and £9,000 per year for the second year. She should leave the former matrimonial home within a month of the first payment. Judgment, 19/06/2020, free

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