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‘It remains to be seen whether many awards will be revisited on the basis of material historical information only coming to light post-award. This may also have an impact on the assessment of the value of assets brought into the marriage, which in some cases will be the subject of a prenuptial agreement.’
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For those surveyed, the most common age of their clients is between 40 and 49 (74%), and they most likely have been married for between 11 and 20 years (61%) and the average value of their family assets is between £1 million and £2 million (19%). In London and the South East the average was higher, at £2 – 4 million (29%), with almost a quarter of respondents stating that their clients’ average asset value was between £10 million and £50 million (24%).
The most common reason given for marriage breakdown was growing apart or falling out of love (23%), which accords with the profession’s desire to see no-fault divorce enshrined in legislation. An extra marital affair was the second most common reason (22%) and unreasonable behaviour the third (20%).
44% of respondents to the survey have seen an increase in divorce numbers as the economic recovery has taken hold. However, the majority of respondents (55%) felt that there had been no change in the types of people petitioning for divorce as a result of continued economic recovery. Looking to the future, 50% of respondents expected to see an increase in the future associated with economic recovery.
Family law professionals expect that the Wright v Wright case will definitely (54%) or probably (33%) increase the amount of applications to vary maintenance orders. Only 29% of respondents thought the case was unlikely to have an effect.
The Grant Thornton Matrimonial Survey 2015 is available to download here.