Family Law Hub

Marital Assets

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  • Webinar to be broadcast on Wednesday 20th May, 1pm-2pm. News, 12/05/2020, free
  • This hearing concerned complex and polarised matrimonial financial proceedings between a husband and wife. She contended that an accountant and/or his various companies owned the ships entirely beneficially for the couple, and that those ships, and the charter fees they generated, were assets falling for appropriate division within the matrimonial financial remedy proceedings. Holman J was not satisfied that there was any real evidence of any deviousness on the part of the accountant or his companies, or any intention by them to try to defeat the claims of the wife. If it was right, as the wife asserted, that the ships were owned beneficially for the couple, then it was in her interests that the current structure remained solvent and afloat. Hence there was no sufficient basis for any injunctions to remain in place, and they were discharged. Judgment, 11/05/2020, free
  • The husband and wife were the children of extremely wealthy Indian families. Following the breakdown of the marriage the husband had discovered that he was not the biological father of their child and issued proceedings for the tort of deceit against the mother. Cohen J noted that he knew of no other case where the breakdown of a marriage had engendered litigation on the scale witnessed in this case. In this hearing he had to deal with issues including the assessment of the assets, in terms of value, origin and ownership and whether they were subject to a family arrangement or clawback, minority discounts, the movement of resources, tax, pre-acquired wealth, and other assets for which there was inadequate information. In Cohen J's judgment the wife's conduct was so egregious that it would be inequitable to disregard it, but to reflect emotional damage in financial terms would be like comparing apples and pears. Cohen J had also found that the husband's disclosure had been seriously deficient: to reduce the wife's award by giving her a lower percentage of the disclosed assets would be to inflict a double jeopardy. Cohen's J's conclusion was that the matrimonial assets to which the husband could have immediate recourse in terms of ownership were £117m. The wife's assets were calculated at less than £1m. The matrimonial home would be transferred free of charge to the wife. The wife's needs, including the value of the matrimonial home, were found to total £41,046,388. Judgment, 01/05/2020, free
  • To be broadcast live on Tuesday 16th June 2020, 1pm-2pm. News, 25/02/2020, members only
  • Mr Justice Cohen recently gave judgment in MB v EB (No. 2) [2019] EWHC 3676 (Fam), and sounded a cautionary note to parties in needs-based cases in financial remedy proceedings who run up unreasonably large legal costs under the (mistaken) belief that the financially stronger party will be ordered to pay them. Referring to the recent amendments to FPR 2010 Practice Direction 28A, Cohen J was firm in his judgment that it was not for the wife, in this case, to ‘bankroll this litigation’ which he found to have been unreasonably conducted by the husband. This case serves as a warning to parties who have a needs-based claim that this does not give them a so-called ‘license to litigate’, and underlines the importance of making sensible proposals in negotiations. News, 25/02/2020, free

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