Farmer cites Brexit in divorce appeal

Divorce|April 11th 2017

A multi-millionaire fruit farmer from Kent has been given permission to appeal a divorce settlement, saying it had failed to account for the role played by his father in the creation of the family fortune.

In recent divorce proceedings the 56 year-old’s wife was awarded £12.2 million from assets of around £30 million, the Evening Standard reports. The couple had been married for 26 years, living near Canterbury.

Paul Mansfield claimed last year’s vote to leave the European Union could erode the value of his business. In addition he insisted that his wife Jane should not benefit from assets he inherited from his father.

The fruit growing business had been established by Buddy Mansfield in the 1960s and by the time he died it was worth millions. It includes 2,000 acres of land, along with fruit storage and packing facilities.

When the couple split, the farmer offered Jane a settlement of £6 million but she declined. The dispute reached the High Court in November 2015 but then ran into various delays and it was not until last year that Mrs Justice Parker awarded more than twice the initial offer to Mrs Mansfield. Two installment payments were ordered, with the second due by March 2018.

In his subsequent appeal, barrister James Turner QC  argued on Mr Mansfield’s behalf that Brexit could have a negative effect on the fruit farm and that insisting on such a huge settlement by next March was therefore “too much too soon”. In additon, he continued, Mrs Justice Parker’s ruling had not properly considered the contribution made to the family fortune by Buddy Mansfield, Paul’s father.

Jane, by contrast, insisted that such claims were exaggerated and that it had been the couple’s own hard work which had made a success of the farm.

Considering Mr Mansfield’s application for permission to appeal, Mr Justice Moylan said the Brexit argument had little chance of success but the role of Mr Mansfield’s father in the growth of the family fortune was more arguable in the Court of Appeal. Mr Mansfield could therefore proceed on that basis.

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