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Non Matrimonial Property – Court Discretion

N & J Robertson Telegraph Photo

The court’s discretion in non matrimonial property cases

 

The recent court decision of Robertson v Robertson has once again confirmed the wide discretion that the courts have in dealing with the financial assets of the marriage, including assets obtained prior to the marriage.

This case involved shares in ASOS which Nicholas Robertson, as founder of the online fashion business, owned 2 years before the marriage. They were worth little at the time of marriage, but at separation were valued at significantly more, following ASOS being floated on the stock market. The total value of the assets being considered were £219 million.
The decision for the court was whether they should be included in the matrimonial ‘pot’, and if so, to what extent the wife should share in the gain in value. In this case the Mrs Robertson was awarded £69 million (31%).

For further details on this particular case go to:

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed159976 or

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/12188925/Asos-chief-told-to-give-ex-wife-70m-in-divorce-cash-fight.html

When considering whether assets owned by one party prior to the marriage are matrimonial or non-matrimonial, the court will look at the overall effect that the inclusion or exclusion of those assets from the matrimonial pot will have. This case illustrates that if excluding an asset entirely will produce an outcome that appears to be wholly unfair, the court will exercise its broad discretion to ensure a fair outcome. The case also emphasizes that there is no certainty in any dispute in financial provision cases because of the overriding discretion that the courts have.

If you are separated and concerned that these issues will affect your case, please contact our experienced team for further advice on 01535 662644.

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