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Divorce Month: The meaning of ‘genius’ in millionaire’s divorce battle

When it comes to the divorce process, it’s the financial side of things that can often take up the most time.

Last year, the estranged wife of American businessman, Randy Work, was awarded half of a fortune that totalled in excess of £140 million, by the High Court.

Mr Work is reportedly now seeking to overturn this at the Court of Appeal. His legal team are arguing that because of his performance as an investor, the usual 50/50 split of assets in divorce settlements should be put aside in this case. His lawyers argue that his ‘special contribution’ to their fortune should have been given credit by the courts.

divorce

 

How long had the couple been together?

Mr Work and his ex-wife, Mandy Gray, first met in California. They got married in 1995 and separated in 2013. They had two children together, who are now teenagers.

 

Did they have their money before they married?

According to the courts, they had similar and modest incomes when they married.

 

Where did the money come from?

Mr Work built a successful career with a private equity firm. This was initially in Texas. The family then moved to Tokyo and then to the UK, where the family set up home in London. Mandy stayed at home to look after the children.

 

How much did Mr Work argue that his wife should have as part of the divorce settlement?

Mr Work had argued in the High Court that his wife was only entitled to £5 million. He said that this was because Mandy hadn’t abided by the terms of the postnuptial agreement, which was signed in Texas in the year 2000.

Mandy’s legal team argued that as the money had been made during the time that they were married, it should be divided equally.

Why did they get divorced in the UK?

International divorce law is a highly complex subject. Where you get divorced could effect the settlement that you receive.

If you are a high net worth individual, with international assets and investments, it is important that you contact an experienced solicitor as early on in the divorce process as possible, in order to obtain specialist legal advice.

 

Can a judge award a bigger portion of the finances to one party on divorce because of a ‘special contribution’?

The 50/50 division is just a starting point for the courts. Other factors, including any children, can have an effect on how the wealth is divided.

In 2014, for example, a judge awarded the Children’s Investment Fund Management UK founder’s ex-wife around 36% of the couple’s fortune.

 

What happens now?

The panel of judges who sit on the Court of Appeal are reportedly being asked to look at the meaning of the word ‘genius’, a word that was used in the High Court to describe Mr Work’s investment skills. Whether they will choose to overturn the High Court’s ruling, remains to be seen.

This is certainly an interesting case to watch.

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.

 

Contact us to see how we can help you with your divorce

For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

We offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

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Please contact us for more details.

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09th January 2017

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