The recent and much-publicised Myerson divorce case, in which a city tycoon failed in his attempt to reduce the divorce settlement agreed with his wife, after his shareholdings had plummeted in value, may make divorcing couples with joint assets that may be subject to wide fluctuations in value think very carefully about who gets what.
A more recent case was heard concerning a woman who agreed a settlement with her ex-husband in 2007, under which he retained shares in a company that was valued at £800,000. Within months of the settlement, her husband had sold the company for nearly £4 million.
She went to court to apply for an increase in her settlement. Her argument was that her husband was aware of the improvement in the company’s fortunes when the financial settlement was agreed.
The court rejected her claim also.
More recently still, a wife whose ex-husband’s income had increased substantially won an increase in her current maintenance of £250,000 despite the court having assessed her income needs at £150,000. The difference in this case was that the application was for maintenance, not a division of assets.