DE v FE [2022] EWFC 711 July 2022

Published: 07/07/2022 09:00

Cohen J.

Financial remedies claim. Parties in their forties, three young children, length of marriage c.13 years. Both parties had worked hard in the financial sector. FMH was pre-owned by H. Parties lived there together for 18–24 months before renting it out. Whether it was a matrimonial asset was not an ‘all or nothing argument’: here, there was a ‘genuine but small’ matrimonial element to the home ([7]) and 30% of its value was treated as matrimonial.

Towards the end of the marriage, the parties had been in ‘limbo’ in which they were living apart but spending time together and ‘neither of them knew whether their marriage had a future but neither had given up on it’. During this period, H’s new business flourished. Issue, therefore, of extent to which this very significant success came post-separation. The judge found that ‘not only was the wealth received at a time whilst the marriage was still thought to be viable, but it was the reflection of work that had been done before the parties' physical separation’; [21]. Subsequently, business fell in value and H would need to work hard to increase liquidity. W awarded 35% assets, comprising FMH and £10m lump sum payable in instalments, with nominal pps to W until paid in full. This reflected the balance to be struck between W retaining copper-bottomed assets v husband’s risk and illiquidity and the degree to which his personal business relationships and efforts would be vital to the business’s prospects and thus achievement of the award. H to also pay child maintenance top-up to level equivalent to meeting the costs of a nanny.

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