Obtaining a settlement allowing a Wife to support herself

Christopher acted for the Wife. The parties jointly owned an investment property. The Husband owned the family home, and land on which Christopher’s client ran an agricultural business. In addition, they both had shares in a company used as a vehicle by which the Husband ran another business. The Husband, who was a high earner, had transferred his business to another company after separation. He had bought the family home prior to the marriage and he alone had bought the agricultural land prior to the marriage, although it was bought for the purpose of the Wife keeping livestock. The company also owned 2 plots of agricultural land.

Christopher’s client had previously held a well-paid position but, due to health issues, could no longer work at a desk or use a computer other than for short periods of time. Prior to the separation the agricultural business had not been run for profit.

At the Final Hearing, the Wife argued that she would be able to develop the agricultural business so that after three years she would be making sufficient profit to be able to support herself. She sought to have the investment property (the smaller property) transferred to her so as to provide a home, along with the agricultural land from which she could make a living.

The Husband objected, arguing that the land was owned by him prior to the marriage and should be ring fenced. He also argued that if the land were treated as a matrimonial asset, transferring it to the Wife would mean that she retained a greater share of the assets – despite his greater contributions and the short nature of the marriage.

Despite the Husband’s argument, Christopher was able to persuade the court to agree with his client’s plan, and the Wife received the smaller property, transfer of the land and maintenance for three years.