Couple’s brief marriage meant husband should have smaller divorce pay-out in landmark ruling

13 Jun

The couple, who were described as being of “relatively modest” origins, were both earning around £100,000 when they met in 2007 but during the relationship, Mrs Sharp also received bonuses totalling £10.5 million.

They separated in 2013 when Mrs Sharp became aware her husband had been “a clandestine affair,” the extent of which he only fully admitted in evidence to court in 2015.

Two years later, a family judge ruled that the “principled outcome” was that Mr Sharp, 43, should receive half of their total assets as no sufficient reason had been identified for departing from the established principle of equal division.

However, Lord Justice McFarlane, one of three judges sitting on the Court of Appeal panel, said there was “no impediment” to depart from that principle, concluding that in a short, dual career marriage in which the couple had kept their finances separate, it was indeed “justified”.

The panel ruled on Tuesday that Mr Sharp’s award should be reduced to £2 million, comprising a property valued at £1.1 million, to be transferred to him, plus a lump sum of £900,000.

Announcing the decision, Lord Justice McFarlane said: “The husband made no contribution to the source of the wife’s bonuses and this is not a case where, save in the final year, the husband is said to have contributed more to the home life or welfare of the family than the wife.

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