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