What happens if your marriage is on the rocks and you receive a
windfall? Does your soon to be ex-partner have a claim on this
stroke of good fortune? How much of your partner's pre-acquired
wealth are you entitled to on divorce? The article highlights some
real life examples.
What's mine is yours: The tale of N v. F
How does the court treat pre-acquired assets on divorce? In N v.
F, the husband had pre-acquired assets worth £2.16 million.
The parties divorced in 2009 with total assets of £9.714
million. The wife claimed it would be unjust for the husband's
pre-marital property to be excluded from the division of assets
arguing that an equal division of the total assets was a fairer
The marriage had been long and the preacquired assets had been
mingled with marital funds. However, the court considered that it
would not cause any prejudice if some of the husband's
premarital wealth was excluded from the sharing principle. The
court excluded £1 million from the divisible funds,
satisfying the justice of the sharing principle and the wife's
needs. The wife received 44.7% of the total divisible assets.
How does this apply to you? The court will consider the
following in relation to preacquired assets:
The value and nature of the wealth and the circumstances under
which the preacquired asset was introduced
The longer the marriage, the easier it is to say that by virtue
of the mingling of that property with other marital assets, the
contributor of that property has (in effect) agreed to share it
with their spouse
The extent of the pre-acquired property to be excluded from the
The court will check the resulting percentage split against the
figure which would have resulted from a 50:50 division
Touché! The tale of K v. L
To a certain extent, inherited assets can be ring-fenced. In K
v. L the wife inherited shares before the parties were married
which were worth approximately £700,000 at the date of
marriage. After 21 years the parties separated. By the time of the
hearing the wife's shares had rocketed to £57.4 million.
The shares represented the parties' wealth as neither had
earned any income during the marriage. The husband sought a payment
of £18 million but was awarded £5 million. He
The court considered it fair to acknowledge the
"substantive difference" in the financial contribution
made by both parties.
Where an inherited asset is diminished it will be considered
matrimonial property. The contribution may be diminished where, for
example, the contributor of the non matrimonial property has chosen
to invest it in the purchase of the matrimonial home or where the
initial contribution is intermingled to the extent that it becomes
difficult to distinguish from the other marital assets.
As the matrimonial assets were not diminished, the husband was
awarded a sum which satisfied his needs and the source of the
wife's wealth was ringfenced in her sole name.
Just the ticket: The tale of S v. AG
How does the court treat pre-acquired assets on divorce? The
parties in S v. AG married in 1984. In 1999, the wife and her
friend won £1 million and £500,000 was paid into the
wife's bank account. In May 2000 the wife spent £390,000
on a property bought in her sole name which became the
'matrimonial' home. The parties divorced in 2007. The
husband applied for financial relief.
The wife had contributed to the winning ticket from her own
earnings and the husband had been wholly ignorant of the wife's
participation in the lottery. The proceeds of the ticket were
therefore nonmatrimonial property. However, when the wife purchased
the house in 2000 she converted that part of her non-matrimonial
assets into matrimonial property. The husband had lived in that
house for a relatively short period so the Judge decided that the
husband was not entitled to an equal share in it. A sharing of 15 -
20% was considered fair.
The following guidelines are applicable in similar
Whether or not a lottery prize is regarded as matrimonial or
non matrimonial property is fact specific.
Where parties are aware that the lottery tickets were
purchased, and both agreed to their purchase, the prize is
Where one party unilaterally buys the tickets from their own in
come, without the knowledge of the other party, the prize is
Each of these tales involve non matrimonial assets and similar
issues. The differences are reflected in the subtle ways in which
the courts have decided to divide the non matrimonial property.
Nevertheless, one very simple principle is apparent in all three:
the more equal the marriage partnership is, the more likely the
assets will be divided equally on divorce.
Originally published in www.life-mags.com
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Parents, in particular those with different nationalities should consider certain legal aspects before and after they decide to expand their family in order to have a saying on various important matters.
Turkish government has introduced a bill numbered 1/697 and dated 30.03.2016 concerning Turkey's accession to the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children of 1996 ("Hague Convention"), signed by the Prime Minister and all ministers.
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