Stellar performers
Stellar performers

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

  • Stellar performers
  • Background
  • Development of the concept of stellar contribution
  • When a stellar contribution should be considered
  • Practical considerations

Background

The court must have regard to a range of factors when making final orders in financial order proceedings. This exercise must now be undertaken in light of White v White and Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane, which made fairness central to the process. In most cases this will start and end with an assessment of each party’s needs. When considering each party’s contribution to the marriage or civil partnership, there should be no discrimination between the breadwinner and the homemaker when making a final order. As explained by the Court of Appeal in Work v Gray, in order to ensure fairness, the courts have confined the concept of special contribution so that it reflects a significant, substantive difference, that does not require extensive evidential investigation. Such a significant, substantive difference may give rise to a special contribution irrespective of whether the contribution was made by the breadwinner or the homemaker, and accordingly, the sharing principle is not applied in a discriminatory manner. Cases in which a special contribution has been successfully argued are extremely rare.

After a long marriage, where the parties’ needs are broadly the same, the court will generally divide the assets equally in the absence of persuasive arguments to the contrary. See Practice Note: Compensation, sharing and equality.

Development of the concept of stellar contribution

In cases of substantial assets, parties (usually husbands)

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