A former wife of an oil and gas trader was awarded just over 41% of the total matrimonial assets, providing her with £453m.

It was clear that the couple enjoyed an extraordinary standing of living throughout the marriage, with yachts, private jets and helicopters. The husband, through his solicitors argued that he had made an exceptional contribution to the creation of the wealth and for that reason she should receive a lower award. This argument was rejected by the Judge, who found that they both had made an equal contribution to the marriage and this was reflected in the award.

One of the strange aspects of this case was that the husband never appeared in Court in person and, in fact, before one of the hearings he dis-instructed his lawyers and appeared at the hearing via video link from his yacht in the Caribbean! – and neither husband or wife attended the final hearing.

This case highlights the fact that it is extremely difficult to argue that one party has made a special contribution in a long marriage to the wealth and should therefore keep the lion’s share of the assets – the contribution of supporting, bringing up the children and running the home is just as valid.

It also reinforces the view that London is the divorce capital of the world, awarding the largest payments to spouses of the super wealthy.

Helen Bowns

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