Negotiating an advantageous settlement for a Wife

Christopher acted for a Wife in a divorce settlement following a marriage of 15 years. The couple originally met overseas in the Wife’s home country, then moved to the UK.

At the time of the marriage, the Husband already partly owned a successful import export business, and owned two properties in the UK. The couple signed a pre-nuptial agreement, which stated that the Wife would make no claim against the properties or the business, or against any derivative assets.

The couple moved to live in the UK and both the original properties were sold, but the proceeds went towards another property in the UK and a property abroad.

At the time of separation, the Husband was 70 and had suffered poor health, and the Wife in her mid-forties. The Husband had sold his interest in the original business and set up on his own, but by the time of the case he had almost completely retired, and was in receipt of a state pension and a private pension. The Wife was in low paid unskilled work.

Both parties raised conduct issues, with each claiming that the other had hidden assets. The Husband sought to rely on the pre-nuptial agreement, arguing that the existing assets all derived from the assets owned at the time of the marriage. Christopher’s client claimed that the pre-nuptial agreement, which was in English, had never been explained to her. She did not speak English at the time of the marriage, and she did not have independent legal advice. The Husband relied on contributions, in that he brought all the capital to the marriage and the Wife brought nothing.

Christopher successfully negotiated settlement on advantageous terms for his client. After protracted negotiations the matter was settled with Christopher’s client receiving just over 40% of the capital which met her needs to rehouse and have a Duxbury sum to supplement her income.