Low contribution to the marital pool prompts new division deal

| Jun 16, 2017 | Property Division |

“Your results may vary.” Readers will recognize that as a disclaimer on just about every ad they see for any weight-loss program. Divorce is not about weight loss, but in some cases, analogies might exist. Dissolving a marriage can be difficult and emotionally challenging. And under Georgia’s model of equitable distribution, views on what is fair can differ. Some could feel they’ve lost more than others.

What prompts this observation is a news item on a divorce from across the pond. The reason it is of interest is the perspective it offers on the issue of equitable division and how social changes are influencing legal decisions.

The shallow end of the community pool

The players in this particular story are both professionals. She is a successful energy trader. It’s not clear what he does, but the two apparently used to make about the same annual salary. She, however, did very well on bonuses, accumulating more than 10 million pounds. Unlike the laws here in Georgia, the prevailing principle for property division in the British courts is to split assets and debts equally.

The couple had lived together for years and married in 2009. They separated in 2014 and finalized their divorce in 2015. At the time, the court ordered the ex-wife to pay the ex-husband half of what was deemed their joint marital assets, putting him in line for 2.75 million pounds. She appealed, and the court recently revised the settlement to just 2 million pounds. Here’s why.

The court said the normal sharing rules don’t apply because of the short length of the marriage, the fact there were no children from the marriage and because he had not been a significant contributor to the marital pool. The court also noted, though, that the couple had maintained separate finances – splitting restaurant checks and even utility bills. They didn’t mingle their money.

In the opinion of the court, the circumstances of this divorce were so unique that it warranted a break from normal property division standards. Therefore, the earlier disclaimer would seem to fit.

Your results may vary. But an experienced attorney can give an assessment of your case.

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