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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 MAR 2012


(Family Division ; Eleanor King J; 6 July 2011)

The husband and wife met in England and both had successful careers as bankers, the wife gave up work in order to care for their 2 children. The family moved to Spain and signed a document stating that all future assets would be held equally. Seven years later the family moved to England and the wife petitioned for a divorce. The husband accused her of forum shopping, evidence that approach of the Spanish court would be less favourable to the wife. The husband had in fact consulted solicitors in England and Spain 3 years prior to the petition. Neither party had a full understanding of the implications of the Spanish agreement, the only weight that could be attached to was that aside from the Madrid property, all assets acquired after the agreement would be shared equally. The husband's non-matrimonial assets of £1.6m, aside from his pension, were required to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the family and would not be ring fenced. Total assets of £3.7m excluding the husband's pension. The wife intended to return to work in Spain but earning capacity and prospects of employment were unknown.

Equal division of assets, transfer of Madrid property to the wife, lump sum of £600,000 to the wife, contents of joint account shared equally. Capitalised spousal maintenance for 10 years, as sought by the wife, too long a period, 2 years, the husband's proposal, was too short given the circumstances, 5 years was long enough for the wife to rebuild a career.

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