The recent case of Morris which hit the headlines in March due to the wife being awarded 90% of the parties’ capital highlights that the needs of the parties and any independent children are often a paramount factor for the court when deciding how the matrimonial pot is to be shared.
In this case the wife has been awarded the bulk of the parties’ capital in order to meet her needs as assessed by the court. The wife’s needs were seen as greater as she had given up her career to be the primary carer to the parties’ children. This put the wife at a disadvantage when returning to employment after a long break, compared with the husband who was a managing director of a successful company and who also had a bigger pension pot. Added to this the judge considered the “extravagant” spending, by both, had left them with limited capital which was going to be required in order to re-house the wife and children of the marriage.
Whilst the husband has been left with a smaller capital fund the judge took into account his higher earning capacity and larger pension pot that he had available to him and the greater ability to use his earning capacity to rebuild his capital.
The judge in summarising the case said: “It is self-evident that not all the needs of the parties could possibly be met in full, or even substantially, from the available resources so the parties expectations have to be scaled down. Some of their needs will have to be prioritised over others. The priority must be given in my judgement to the housing of the wife and children.”
This case illustrates that an equal division of the assets may not be appropriate in every marriage breakdown and everyone’s circumstances are unique.
With any relationship breakdown, whether or not the parties are married, the circumstances are unique. We always recommend an initial consultation with an experienced Family Law Solicitor who will advise what factors are relevant in the particular circumstances and also give advice on procedure and cost. We offer a free initial consultation for new family law clients.