X v C [2022] EWFC 7912 July 2022

Published: 22/07/2022 09:00


HHJ Farquhar.

Modest asset financial remedy case published as part of commitment to publication of court judgments at all levels. Assets comprised FMH H’s sole name, net equity c.£258k; a house owned by W and her former husband in which the latter resided with their children (equity £85–105k after CGT1) and which court held was not realisable for foreseeable future; woods £45k (H purported to have transferred to a minor child but court found he had not parted with either legal or beneficial interest); W’s (NHS?) pension £230k; H’s vehicles and number plates £35k. On issue of H’s premarital £80k contribution to purchase of FMH, court refuses to ring-fence as required to meet needs and because FMH.

H’s income £70k; he lived in the FMH with two employed adult children from a prior relationship. W had moved into rented accommodation with the young child of the family and, for half the time, the teenage children she had with her former husband. She earned £35k around school hours plus universal credit and had had significant debts c.£70k, mostly hard debts, due to legal costs of this and concurrent Children Act proceedings.

Judge adopts summary of law set out by Peel J in WC v HC [2022] EWFC 22. Careful consideration s 25 factors. Orders FMH sold, £150k to W (as %) to discharge debts and therefore free up income from repayments; £100k to H for him to rehouse himself with value of his other assets or mortgage capacity; clean break in view of animosity and stability of W’s employment; no pension share of W’s valuable pension. Reference to PAG report and inappropriateness of apportioning premarital pension accumulation in needs case, but mindful that mostly built up before relationship.

Outcome therefore that H could rehouse himself in a purchased home whereas W could not do so for some years (but that she kept a valuable pension). As insufficient money to purchase home for W and child, court:

‘must strive to achieve an outcome which is fair to both parties and puts them in a position whereby they will be in the best position possible to obtain such accommodation in due course. For the Applicant in this case that requires that she is able to be debt free and, in a position to be able to obtain a mortgage once her original matrimonial home is sold in anything up to 5-8 years’ time. In terms of the needs of the Respondent; the Court is satisfied that they can be met by way of being in a smaller property than the former matrimonial home as there is no duty for the Court to take into account his independent adult children, however desirable that such an outcome might be.’

Finding that H had engaged in litigation misconduct and he was ordered to pay wasted costs of an earlier aborted hearing.

On anonymity, parties both sought nonidentification of their child, but H wanted he and W to be named, W opposed this. Court refers to Xanthopoulos v Rakshina [2022] EWFC 30; VV v VV [2022] EWFC 41; and Gallagher v Gallagher [2022] EWFC 52. Applies Re S [2004] UKHL 47 balancing exercise and makes RRO because of risk of harm to child including by possibility that H would publish without one, and existence of concurrent Children Act proceedings. Interesting comments [105-106] about difficulties for lower court judges of inconsistent High Court approaches to RROs; refers to Peel J/HHJ Hess guidance of June 2022 on anonymisation post Xanthopoulos.

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