Q&As

Does the enjoyment of income from a non-matrimonial asset not, in itself, mean that the asset becomes matrimonial in nature?

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Produced in partnership with Paul Infield of The 36 Group
Published on LexisPSL on 17/09/2019

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Paul Infield of The 36 Group provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does the enjoyment of income from a non-matrimonial asset not, in itself, mean that the asset becomes matrimonial in nature?

Does the enjoyment of income from a non-matrimonial asset not, in itself, mean that the asset becomes matrimonial in nature?

The identification, and separate treatment, of non-matrimonial property has its genesis in White v White, but received its full exposition and rationalisation in Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane. In White Lord Nicholls said this (at 610):

‘[Pre-marital property] represents a contribution made to the welfare of the family by one of the parties to the marriage. The judge should take it into account. He should decide how important it is in the particular case. The nature and value of the property, and the time when and circumstances in which the property was acquired, are among the relevant matters to be considered. However, in the ordinary course, this factor can be expected to carry little weight, if any, in a case where the claimant’s financial needs cannot be met without recourse to this property.’

However, a non-matrimonial asset can take on a matrimonial character, for instance:

  1. by the capital being used to support the parties’ standard of living: an example of this is Robson v Robson, in which Ward LJ said ‘Since they had drawn upon capital to support their lifestyle, there can be no complaint about the fact that the judge required the inherited property to continue to be the source to fund the wife's future

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