The wife of a former banker who gave up his career to look after the children has appealed a ruling that he is habitually resident in England.
Weng Choy, from Hong Kong, filed for divorce in January 2012 after he and his wife had “a blazing row” on New Year’s Eve.
He is seeking a share of the couple’s substantial assets – estimated to be more than £11 million, including homes in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Kensington. But his wife, investment banker Lena Tan, claims the English courts have no jurisdiction in the case.
The couple were married for 15 years and their two sons attended English boarding schools.
Tan, a hedge fund manager who has worked in the City of London, countered her husband’s filing with her own divorce application in Malaysia, and asked the English courts to halt her husband’s divorce claim.
However, the High Court declared in March last year that Mr Choy had been habitually resident (resident for legal purposes) in England for a year before making his application for divorce, so the courts did have the power to hear his case. According to a report in the Mail, more than half the couple’s wealth is invested in the UK.
His wife appealed. Earlier this week, her legal team claimed in the Court of Appeal that the couple’s true home had been Hong Kong, in spite of their London flat.
James Turner QC said:
“Married family life between the parties continued to some degree at least, and had Hong Kong as its centre, until a row took place between the parties during the Christmas 2011, New Year 2012 period, following which the husband came to England.”
But Tim Bishop QC, for the husband, said Mr Choy had been based in London since an earlier row with his wife in London in September 2010. He noted that Mr Choy had obtained a British driving licence and national insurance number.
The Court of Appeal reserved its judgement until a later date.