Special considerations in big-money cases
Special considerations in big-money cases

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Special considerations in big-money cases
  • Contributions of the parties
  • Assets
  • Needs generously interpreted
  • Non-matrimonial/civil partnership property
  • Compensation
  • Sharing

The House of Lords decision in White v White established that a claimant’s needs in big-money cases should not be the determinative factor. Prior to White financial relief was usually limited to financial needs or reasonable requirements, together with, where there was a surplus of assets, a capital cushion or nest egg. The House of Lords stopped short of approving a presumption of equality of division, but did state that the court’s task was to achieve fairness between the parties and to test any proposed financial order against the yardstick of equality, and that as a general guide ‘equality should be departed from only if, and to the extent that, there is good reason for doing so’.

In big-money cases, as in all cases, the three principles of fairness apply: needs, compensation and sharing, and while the principle of equal contribution/equal sharing extends even to families who have extraordinary levels of wealth (see AAZ v BBZ for example, a case involving £1 billion in assets), inevitably, since White, much of the big-money case law has concentrated on reasons to justify departure from equality of division of assets.

See also Practice Notes: The needs of the parties and Compensation, sharing and equality.

Contributions of the parties

In big-money cases particular regard may be had to the contributions of the parties. While section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

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