Judge ignores pre-nuptial agreement but factors in non-matrimonial assets in divorce finance case

7 Dec 2022 | Lisa Pepper

Case Law

One of the reasons I am still passionate about family law, after 20 years in the field, is that it is ever-changing. An important part of the job is keeping up to date on case law, and  a recent Pre-Nuptial case is worth a mention.

IR v OR

The assets totalled £184 million. The issues for the Judge were what assets were matrimonial and also Pre-Nup. The Husband had assets from his family business and a Trust and put these down to his father’s efforts. The Wife disagreed and said the Husband was instrumental in the business. There had been a Pre-Nuptial Agreement but neither could find the finalised and signed document. A draft copy was produced. The Wife hadn’t sought legal advice on it and it did not provide for her reasonable needs. The Husband wanted the Pre-Nup to be persuasive but accepted it should not be fully implemented.

Mr Justice Moor ignored the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

In terms of what was matrimonial, although the Judge found that the Husband’s father’s contribution to the resources was significant, it was the Husband who had transformed the business, during the marriage. The Judge did not consider it relevant that the assets were placed in a Trust.

The Judge did acknowledge that the non-matrimonial element of the resources should be factored in to the overall settlement. He determined how much was non-matrimonial, deducted that from the total asset base figure, and awarded the Wife half of the remainder – she received £70 million.

Full judgement

The full Judgment can be found here.

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