An international businessman has been ordered to pay his ex-wife almost £2.7 million after failing to uphold his side of a separation agreement.
In L v M, the 60 year-old businessman married a 46 year old venture capitalist back in 2008, having met her two years earlier. The wife had said the husband was “a highly sophisticated and intelligent businessman”, and the judge said this could easily apply to her as well.
During the course of their marriage, the couple had a daughter. The relationship broke down after little more than two years.
Their initial separation was described as “generally amicable”. They eventually signed a separation agreement, which set out their financial obligations after the divorce was final. In this agreement, the husband had pledged to pay his wife £2 million and monthly maintenance in addition to all of their daughter’s education fees.
However, shortly after the divorce was finalised, the husband refused to pay. He claimed that he did not have proper legal representation during the drafting of the separation agreement. He also alleged that his wife had not sufficiently disclosed her assets when the agreement was signed.
Sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Bruce Blair QC noted that the original agreement undermined many of the husband’s arguments. It stated that neither party had “formally provided” a disclosure of their assets, but had a “general understanding” of each other’s finances.
The separation agreement also said that both “parties have taken or have had the opportunity to take independent legal advice before signing”. The judge added that the husband had “ample opportunity” to seek legal advice during the divorce process.
The husband also claimed that he could not afford to pay the amounts stated in the agreement. Mr Blair said that, based on the evidence available, the husband’s worth “amounts to many millions of pounds”.
The judge criticised the husband for “his contemptuous refusal to answer a single question or produce a single document” and believed he had “secrets to hide”. Mr Blair ordered that the husband pay a lump sum of almost £2.7 million.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Joe Dunckley via Flickr