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LIVE 24-SEVEN


JORDANS SOLICITORS SPECIALISTS IN FAMILY L AW


Barbara Jordan, of Jordans Solicitors, answers a question posed regarding divorce settlements following a marriage breakdown.


QUESTION:


My wife and I have been married for six years, but our marriage has failed.


We do not have any children and I thought that, as we have only one jointly owned asset, namely the home we live in, on divorce we would sell our house, divide the proceeds equally and that nothing else would be shared.


I say this because my wife works and has a good job earning £50,000 per annum and I do not see that she needs any support from me.


66


I earn considerably more than her and, over the marriage, I have had a number of bonuses which I have saved and therefore I have large savings in excess of £400,000.


I’m 42 years of age and my wife is 41 and I think she will need a mortgage to rehouse, but this will present no difficulty to her.


When we agreed to separate, I was astonished when she told me that she would want to share all of our assets equally.


I think this is completely unfair. We have always shared bills, but we do not have a joint bank account and I do not see why, just because I have married her for six years, I have to give her half of my savings.


Is she right?


ANSWER: No, I don’t think she is.


I wonder whether your wife has been reading the newspaper reports of the divorce of Mr and Mrs Sharp. In that case, when this matter went to Court in the first place the Judge decided that all of Mr and Mrs Sharp’s assets, which were extremely considerable, should be shared equally, even though they had not been equally generated.


Because the marriage in question had been six years, I think many lawyers were very surprised at the Judge’s decision, and certainly Mr Sharp was sufficiently surprised to appeal it.


The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and changed the outcome to allow the wife in that case to retain her very substantial assets, giving her husband 50% of the equity in matrimonial properties and a further lump sum to reflect the standard of living that the couple had enjoyed during their marriage, but this lump sum was very, very much lower than a 50/50 split.


In your case, therefore, I think the appeal decision in Sharp -v- Sharp is thoroughly helpful and I think your wife is unduly opti- mistic in thinking that she has an entitlement to half of everything.


I should, however, point out that her reasonable needs, generously interpreted, will have to be met and thus you may have to give her a lump sum out of your savings on top of 50% of the equity in the family home.


Jordans Solicitors, the Studio, Lydbrook, Gloucester GL17 9SB and 4 Royal Crescent, Cheltenham, Gloucester GL50 3DA Tel: 01242 386700 www.jordans.legal


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


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