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Fashion mogul challenges £2.7m divorce settlement

A fashion mogul has launched an appeal against a £2.7 million divorce settlement.

The former teacher, who built his own clothing empire, separated from his wife in 2002 after an 18-year marriage. Their divorce was then finalised in 2005. At the time, he agreed to let his ex-wife keep their marital home worth £700,000 and he paid the mortgage off in full. He also agreed to give her £10,000 each year.

However, ten years after their divorce his ex-wife initiated a legal bid for an increased settlement. Although his business was doing well at the time of their initial divorce, by the time the case went back to court it was reportedly making £30 million per year. He had incorporated well-known clothing brands such as Lambretta and Vision Streetwear into the business and set up outlets throughout the UK. He had amassed a personal fortune of around £10 million in the ten years since the end of his marriage.

Despite the divorce being ten years old, the court sided with the man’s ex-wife and ruled that he should pay her a further £2.7 million.

The businessman sought to appeal. He claimed there had been a verbal agreement between him and his ex-wife that their initial settlement represented a clean break. This would mean the couple would have no further financial obligations to each other once it had been completed.

At the Court of Appeal, the barrister hired to represent him insisted that the man had “started the business with just £81 of his own money” and that “the wife’s involvement in the business was negligible”.

The ex-wife’s motivation for launching her legal bid was that “her own wages as a teacher had been cut back, and she had parted from her boyfriend, with whom she had been in a relationship since the breakdown of the marriage” the barrister claimed.

He added:

“It is not the husband’s role to act as insurer against these events, let alone to do so many years after the separation.”

The QC representing the man’s ex-wife claimed there had been no agreement of any kind on a clean break and that she deserved a larger settlement due to her “substantial contribution to the family in relation to her work in the care of the children”. Her barrister said the £2.7 million settlement represented just 27 per cent of the available assets, which was a “very significant departure” from the usual division of 50/50 in these cases.

Lady Justice Rafferty, Lord Justice Lindblom and Sir Ernest Ryder heard the arguments but did not arrive at a decision. Their ruling is expected at a later date.

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:

    Clean break is a must however long ago or what was agreed with a financial and sealed agreement…
    In such high profile cases such as these us mere mortals obtain a clean break it is certain…
    In cases a mere spousal payment of minimal amount would leave the door open in future for a claim of extra support..remember the case of the multi millionaire of a solar power company who never finalised his finances well it came back to haunt him by single payment after legal costs to his ex partner….

  2. Andrew says:

    I hope his solicitors advised him about a clean break!

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