A landmark decision by the Court of Appeal this week will have significant implications for divorcing dual income couples separating after a short childless marriage.
The appeal was brought by Julie Sharp, a city trader who, in 2015, was ordered by the High Court to pay her ex-husband Robin £2.75 million being half of their marital assets. The Court of Appeal have reduced that payment to £2 million after Ms Sharp’s lawyers contested the High Court decision on the grounds that the couple, who did not have children, had not pooled their finances and the majority of the matrimonial assets in what was a relatively short marriage had been earned by Ms Sharp.
The general legal principle that a family’s wealth should be divided equally on divorce was dis-applied in this case. Lord Justice McFarlane decided that because the marriage was relatively short, the couple had no children and were each financially self-supporting, the Court would not apply the usual starting point of an equal split of the assets accumulated during the marriage.
It must be emphasised that the case was decided on its own individual facts and certainly the length of the marriage was a significant factor.
Lord Justice McFarlane said the case was one of the “very small number” where the factors justified the court departing from the principle of equal sharing.
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