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Charles Russell Speechlys’ Family Team act for wife in securing 50% of the family’s assets - over £140m

Judgment has been handed down in the case of DR v UG [2023] EWFC 68 following a trial in the High Court heard by Mr Justice Moor in March 2023.

The wife has been awarded 50% of the parties’ assets which amounted to £284million in total after the husband failed in his argument that there should be a departure from equality on the basis of “special contribution” and “post-separation endeavour”.

Mr Justice Moor rejected the husband’s arguments and formed the view that the husband did not satisfy the test for special contribution, and nor did the husband’s arguments regarding post-separation endeavour justify any reduction in the wife’s sharing claim.

The wife sought an equal share of 50% of the proceeds of sale of the husband’s share in a pharmaceutical business and the (limited) other family assets. He had offered 30%.

The Charles Russell Speechlys team included  Partner, William Longrigg, and Senior Associate, Lucy Hitchen.  Counsel, Lewis Marks KC, and Marcus Lazarides of QEB represented the client at trial.

William Longrigg, Partner said:

"Since the case of White v White in 2000, assets created during the course of a marriage are supposed to be divided equally on divorce.  But it is so rare in big money cases for there to be an equal division that this really is a landmark case. The wives in cases with significant assets have nearly always received less than 50%, usually because there is an ongoing business or because the husband can establish some ‘post-separation endeavour’ which is supposedly unmatched by the wife’s contribution. The husband in this case put all the familiar arguments to the court but for various reasons they didn’t succeed – in part because the business had already been sold at the time of the trial - and the wife received her 50%."

Mrs DR (applicant wife) said:

"I am very happy that an equal division of joint matrimonial assets at this level has finally been achieved in court. 

"In our case, we made an equal investment with matrimonial assets which were earned during the course of our marriage putting everything we owned at risk including our family home. I gave up my job, career prospects and future earning capacity in order to support my husband and our 3 children. He travelled extensively and we moved around Europe in the interests of advancing and optimizing his career. Our marriage was a partnership and teamwork.

"I am also very happy for all other spouses who have sacrificed their careers in order to take care of the children and family as a whole and that it has finally been acknowledged that although I cannot say I have contributed with x million pounds I have in fact contributed to the wealth of the family and more importantly to the welfare of our children. Thanks also to my amazing team at Charles Russell Speechlys and the barristers for believing in my case from the beginning and supporting me throughout."

See judgment below:

DR v UG [2023] EWFC 68 (05 April 2023) (bailii.org)

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