December 2, 2014

The courts preference for dividing assets equally when business assets are involved

The case of SK v TK came before Mr Justice Moor who rejected all the husband’s arguments that he had made a ‘special contribution’ through:

  • his role as a successful technology entrepreneur
  • assets he had accumulated before the marriage and
  • that he would retain risky assets if he received his entire shareholding in the company.

The Judge gave careful consideration to the value of the business and the assets when the parties began living together in reaching this decision.

Interestingly Mr Justice Moor indicated that he recognised the validity of the husband’s argument in respect of risk in which assets he retained after marriage.  While in this case the husband’s actual argument was dismissed, you can see it was taken into consideration in the overall outcome because the Judge applied a more conservative value of the company.

This is another indication of the fact that courts do not wish to depart from equality.  Sharon MacDonald, partner in our Family team has commented “this shows yet again a clear determination by the court to apply the rules in respect of equality and only to move away from these in very exceptional circumstances.  The Judge is clearly balancing the fact that not all assets can be considered equal on division.  It is absolutely essential that any solicitor dealing with high value financial cases, can recognise the element of risk in respect of all assets that are to be retained or disposed of in any settlement.” 

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