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Top Ten Myths in International Family Law

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about international family law issues. Here is our top 10:

I spy a rare white leopard – sharing non-matrimonial assets on divorce

Inspired by a recent Halloween costume party where my colleague Emma Nash and I dressed as that rarest of things, a white leopard, I present here a short guide to how English law treats what is known as “non-matrimonial property” on divorce.

What financial resources need to be disclosed in an English divorce settlement?

A final financial settlement in the family courts in England and Wales can only reliably occur when there has been disclosure to both sides of the financial resources of each.  But what does financial resources mean?  In particular what does it mean for international families and those with complex financial circumstances?

“We all covet wealth, but not its perils”

Last week Petra Eccleston gave an interview about the breakdown of her marriage and the difficulties she associates with wealth when it comes to meeting a life partner.

Court of Appeal Decision in Chinese Tiger Trust Case

The Court of Appeal has made a ruling on the case of Quan v Bray and Others [2017] EWCA Civ 405. The case involved a dispute over a trust, known as the Chinese Tigers South African Trust, which had been set up in 2002 by a husband and wife to help repopulate Chinese Tigers to the wild. The couple subsequently separated and the wife issued a claim for a financial remedy in divorce proceedings.

Equal division of assets on divorce no longer appropriate for short childless marriages

The Court of Appeal has today delivered its judgment in the matter of Sharp.

The appeal was brought by Julie Sharp, an energy trader, who argued against the principle of an equal division of the marital assets in light of the relatively short length of the marriage and on the basis that she brought the larger proportion of the wealth to the marriage. The parties, who were married for four years, had combined assets of approximately £6.9m, approximately £5.45m of which was acquired during the course of the marriage. Both parties pursued their own individual careers and kept their assets separate. They did not have any children.

Forthcoming Changes to Financial Remedy Applications

There has been a drive in recent years, led by Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division of the Courts in England and Wales, to ensure that financial proceedings are dealt with by the appropriate Judges, at the correct judicial level and with optimum specialisation of expertise both judicially and administratively behind the scenes. A number of important changes to the system have been introduced, often pilot-led, and with much success, and more changes are coming soon. 

Spousal support on divorce “revolutionised” by Italian Supreme Court

On 10 May 2017 the Supreme Court in Italy handed down a decision which Italian legal commentators are saying revolutionises the basis of spousal support upon divorce in Italy. The decision, with Judgment No.

When Do Marital Contributions Become Special?

On 11 April 2017 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Gray v Work.  It determined whether a spouse should receive more than 50% of the shared net marital assets on the basis that he or she has made a "special contribution" to the welfare of the family.  In England all assets acquired during the marriage are shared equally unless there is a good reason for a departure.  It is an important decision about when marital assets will be unequally shared. 

A Culture of Change: Family Law and Inter-Ethnic Families

We have seen a change in the demography of our society with the increase in families of mixed ethnicities in recent years. Free movement of workers within the EU, coupled with international reciprocal arrangements allowing for the emigration of individuals from many different and varied nations, has created fascinating melting pots of cultures, languages and religions across the UK. It remains to be seen how Brexit will impact this trend.

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