If, when it comes to settling the financial aspects to your divorce, you are unable to reach agreement then a judge will have to make that decision for you – as the recent founder of ASOS (the online fashion house) found out this week when his ex-wife was awarded £70m of his reputed £220m fortune.
In the lead up to the trial, Mr Robertson had apparently offered to settle matters for £30m – no small sum in the scheme of things, but his wife wanted 50% of what he was worth. I am more than a little surprised that the ex-wife wanted that much given these circumstances, and it can only be seen as her absolute best case, as after all she wouldn’t have got more than that given the numbers involved here. However, a trial was perhaps inevitable, given how far the two figures were apart. Both the husband and wife spent £500k each on lawyers, which was not a bad investment for the wife given the amount over the husband's offer that she was awarded.
The couple were together for around 11 years and have two children. Not a very long marriage, but not a short marriage either. It was accepted, rightly, that both had made similar contributions during the course of the marriage but the husband had started his successful business 3 years prior to them meeting, and whilst I have not read the full judgement yet, it is reasonable to assume that he argued that the wealth he created prior the marriage and his contributions in terms of his entrepreneurial business success should be given particular recognition. Indeed these are factors that the judge was entitled to take into account along with all the other circumstances of the case, including no doubt ‘lifestyle’. Those arguments are not always available to parties in a divorce and very often the outcome is dictated by their respective financial needs. It is, however, good to know at the start what a judge might take into account and which might help your case.