A wife has been told to accept a divorce settlement that provided her with £2m in cash plus the exclusive right to live in a valuable London flat for the rest of her life.
The case involved a couple who both came from wealthy families. The husband had a well-paid job but the wife did not work. They had three children, who were at school in London.
Most of the husband’s inherited wealth was managed by a family company that he owned in equal shares with his mother and sister.
Shortly before the marriage, the company purchased a London flat that became the couple’s home. The company later bought a smaller flat in the same block which the couple used for staff and additional visitors.
The wife claimed a 50% interest in the two flats, asserting that the husband had always told her that he owned them.
He denied having any beneficial interest in them because the company was the beneficial owner.
The wife sought a clean break settlement by way of a lump sum of £7.5m, comprising a housing fund of £5.5m and an income fund of £2m.
During the trial, the husband, supported by his mother and sister, offered £2m in cash and the right for the wife to remain in the main flat for life, and the smaller flat for three years, subject only to her future remarriage or inheritance on her father’s death.
The court ruled in favour of the husband. It held that the settlement the wife was requesting would be a significant detriment to the financial interests of the mother and sister. The husband’s offer was the right solution and met the wife’s needs.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.