Couples who divorce after short marriages with no children cannot expect an equal share of marital assets following on from a ruling by Senior Judges in June.
In a case set to mark a radical departure from the approach of equal sharing, Appeal Judges ruled that a cheating husband whose City Trader wife made £10.5 million in bonuses in 5 years, was not entitled to an equal share of the assets.
The Judges went onto say that Robin Sharp could not claim half of his ex-wife’s Julie’s fortune after their 4 year childless marriage and ruled that a £2 million award from the £5.5 million fortune was all Mr Sharp deserved.
It was concluded by Lord Justice McFarlane that “short marriage, no children, dual income and separate finances are sufficient to justify a departure from the equal sharing principle to achieve fairness between the parties.”
It is likely that this ruling will have significant impact as in particular, it illustrates that the court will now give significant weight to actual needs when dividing assets and indeed, will give higher significance to the length of the marriage.
In recent years, it had also been clear that family courts have moved towards meeting spouse’s needs as the principle factor in dividing assets, or indeed conversely that, lack of financial needs will be taken into account and, this case seems to reinforce that concept as opposed to the starting point being equal division.
If you require advice in relation to divorce then contact Jane Williams or a member of the Family Law team in Cardiff or Penarth on 02920 388398 or contact our Sue Keppe in our London offices.