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  • 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
  • An appeal against a decision in financial remedy proceedings. Leave to appeal had been granted on limited grounds: whether the husband had made contributions to the mortgage, and whether the right approach had been taken to the valuation of the wife's pension. The parties married in 2008 and separated in 2011, and had been in a relationship since 1988. HHJ Richard Robinson found that the husband was unable to show any bank statements which did not align with the judge's findings, and hence decided that there was no merit in the first ground of appeal. As to the second ground, he found that there were difficulties with the judgment. The judge had been aware of the husband's health issues but dismissed them as irrelevant to an assessment of his future needs. The judge appeared to have been "led into error by an over-emphasis on the non-matrimonial accrual of part of the pension and of contributions over needs". The correct approach would be to analyse the parties’ comparative income and needs in retirement, and thus the extent to which the wife’s pension should be apportioned. A complete rehearing would be excessive; a directions hearing would be held to decide the next steps. Judgment, 15/06/2020, free
  • The financial consequences of the breakdown of a marriage that had lasted for 22 years, with three children, all still in education. The couple had renovated a large country home at great expense shortly before the divorce. The applicant husband suggested for himself a housing fund of £3m and an income fund of £2.3m. The wife suggested figures of £1.8m and £400,000. Cohen J reminded himself of the factors to be taken into account, including that the applicant must not be treated less generously on account of his sex, especially when he would be playing an equal part in the children's care, and made a total award of £2.85 million. The house would be transferred to the wife. Judgment, 08/06/2020, free
  • The wife's application for financial remedy orders following the breakdown of the marriage to the husband. Both came from wealthy families. They had married in 2010, after signing a pre-nuptial document regarding the "Separation de Biens". A religious ceremony took place in April and a legal ceremony in July. The parties had lived in London since 2015. Cohen J did not accord weight to the pre-nuptial agreement: it had not been the subject of discussion between the parties, it had been presented to the wife on the day before the wedding, she had had no chance to consider its contents, she was unfamiliar with the concept of choosing a marital regime, and she had no understanding of the implications of the agreement. Cohen J went on to deem 40% of the matrimonial home to be a matrimonial asset. When this was aggregated with the $8m found to have been received by the husband during the marriage for his work within the family business, it amounted to a matrimonial acquest of £7.9m, and a half share would thus provide the wife with just under £4m. The home would be transferred to the wife. Orders for periodical payments and child periodical payments were also made. Finally, Cohen J noted the parties had spent a "deeply regrettable" and "disastrously high" amount of money on costs, and that there had been repeated breaches of the Statement on the Efficient Conduct of Financial Remedy Hearings in the High Court. He suggested that the sanctions available to the court at paragraph 18 of the Statement should not be overlooked. Judgment, 06/06/2020, free
  • The financial remedies proceedings arising out of a divorce. The husband was a litigant in person. HHJ Hess ordered a spousal periodical payments order of £1,138 pcm, rising to £1,300 pcm in 2021, and £1,500 pcm in 2027, to continue until the death of either party, the wife's 60th birthday, or her remarriage. Top-up orders were made for the benefit of the children, and child periodical payment orders for the gap between secondary and tertiary education. The parties would each retain a 50% share in the family home. Pension sharing orders would provide equal incomes for the parties at a specified time in the future. Neither party had been entirely successful or entirely unsuccessful, and so there was no order for costs. Judgment, 04/06/2020, free

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