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Expatriate Law obtained over 50% of the assets and an income clean break for a husband in a 2 day arbitration following a 30 year marriage.

Expatriate Law obtained over 50% of the assets and an income clean break for a husband in a 2 day arbitration following a 30 year marriage. The husband, aged 56, was recently made redundant from his A&E consultant role in a hospital, resided in Dubai with his elderly mother who he cared for. The wife resided in the family home in Surrey, England, a beautiful property with grounds, valued at £2.4M (mortgage free).

Their other assets were a Dubai property, worth £200,000, savings of £500,000 including the husband’s end of service gratuity, and the husband’s pension of £350,000.

The husband argued that the assets largely derived from an inheritance from his Pakistani father received in 1993, divided under Islamic Law so 5/6th of the estate went to the husband, and just 1/6th to the widow (the husband’s mother). The husband’s case was he had an ongoing obligation to pay for his elderly mother’s costs from the inherited assets, rather than them being entirely of a matrimonial nature between the divorcing couple.

Being close to retirement age, the husband argued that his earning capacity could not be relied upon in the future.

The wife’s case was that the total assets should be divided heavily in her favour to account for a housing need of £1.4m and an income need of over £100,000 per annum. She was seeking 70% of the assets, namely the entire sale proceeds of the family home (it being too expensive to maintain) together with periodical payments of £72,000 per annum until sale, and for the husband to keep the remaining assets (circa, £700,000 plus the pension). In the alternative, she sought £1.9M (55% of the capital), together with ongoing maintenance of £66,000 per annum until the husband turned 65.

The husband sought slightly over 50% of the capital, taking account of the fact he had an ongoing commitment to care for his elderly mother. He argued that at his age and in his health condition, it was extremely unlikely he would find employment similar to his previous stressful and physically demanding role as an A&E consultant during the pandemic.

The arbitrator agreed with our arguments. The wife’s housing need was assessed at £1m, close to the husband’s suggested figure, and her income need at £40,000, in line with the husband’s position. The wife was awarded £1.645M, or 48% of the assets, and £40,000 per annum of interim periodical payments until the family home sold, leaving the husband with 52% of the assets and no long term maintenance obligations.

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