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Pre-Acquired Wealth in Divorce Claims


The recent High Court case of N v F [2011] has provided guidance on the correct approach to be taken with respect to pre-acquired wealth in divorce claims.


In the case, the judge stated that the correct approach was that followed in the earlier case of Jones v Jones, namely that the court should first decide whether pre-marital property should form part of the divorce settlement at all. This will depend on:


  • the length of ownership;
  • the length of the marriage; and
  • the extent to which it has been mingled with the marital property.


Then, if the property is to be considered, the court should decide how much of it should be considered, taking into account the extent of any mingling or passive growth and the other party’s needs. Any remaining property should then be divided equally.

Couples can avoid or reduce the need for costly court assessments by signing a comprehensive pre-nuptial agreement before they get married. This is particularly recommended where one party has significant assets before the marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements that are properly drafted by solicitors are now recognised as legally enforceable in the courts.

Cheryl Low, our specialist family law solicitor can provide further advice on pre-nuptial agreements and divorce settlements. Call Cheryl on 01708 757575 or email: cheryl.low@ker.co.uk


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