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Wealthy husband allowed to appeal divorce award

A wealthy investment banker has been given permission to appeal a divorce settlement which awarded his wife half his fortune.

The 48 year-old husband met his wife when they were both in their 20s. They married in Los Angeles, California, at a time when they both had “good but modest jobs and no appreciable capital”. Two years after their marriage, the husband started working for a private equity firm based in Texas and was soon assigned to an office in Tokyo, Japan.

The couple had two children while in Japan and lived in Tokyo from 1997 until 2005 when they moved to Hong Kong. In 2008 the family moved to London. By the time the husband left the firm, he had acquired personal wealth of around $300 million. He apparently made somewhere in the region of $7 billion for his firm during his time there.

Although the judgment did not state when the couple separated, it did reveal that the husband had been ordered to pay his wife 50 per cent of his fortune. This would include two lump sums, one of $60 million and one of $50 million. Until those were made, he was order to pay her maintenance of £130,000 per month.

Prior to this award, the husband had claimed he should not have to pay half of his fortune because of his “special contribution” to the marriage. He insisted that his “accumulation of … vast wealth” in such a short space of time was “unmatched” by his wife’s contributions to the marriage, who stayed at home to look after the children.

However, the initial judge ruled that it was “only because of [the wife’s] willingness to move and live in Japan that the husband had been able to both work there and amass the wealth” and ordered the 50/50 division of assets.

The husband believed the judge’s findings on what constituted a “special contribution” were incorrect and sought permission to appeal the ruling. At the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice King declared that it was “arguable that the judge erred in his approach to the test” to determine what counted as a contribution. She added that the vast amount of money he earned could be considered “unmatched”. Therefore she granted the husband permission to launch an appeal against the order.

Read the judgment in full here.

Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by jo.sau via Flickr

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andy says:

    This example where you put your trust in the legal system and example of wealth gained by hard work and investments.
    This has lead to the excuses the mother who gave up a mediocre career and the father went on to obtain vast amounts of wealth. In this instance the wealth gained by the father again the mothers contribution as stated imbalance. This, as judgement passed that a 50/50 split of assets and a maintenance payment of £130.000 per month is shown.
    The excuse and seems all be it the example that the mother gave up her career to look after the children this it seems the hinge point in all divorce cases where the mother has suspended her career for obvious reasons.
    Let’s look at the other side of the coin what if the mother had made vast amounts of wealth for the family and the father had suspended his this situation the court would of not awarded a 50/50 split . Now the appeal due to a incorrect or a open decision now challeng d has lead to this action..
    In judges we trust to make a ammicable decision and when they get it wrong who pays yes the father yet again…how on this earth can a high earner lose 50% and pay £130.000 percent month,,
    What planet are we living on where the mother received 50%share that should of been enough.

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