12 years after their marriage came to an end, a judge decides if a couple who ran a successful business together had reached a “full and final settlement” at the time of their divorce.
- Couple built up multi-million-pound business during their marriage
- Divorce settlement was made in 2005
- Court awarded larger sum to the wife in 2013, to which the husband appealed
- Appeal judge rules that husband failed to give full disclosure and upholds award to ex-wife
In the case of Briers v Briers the couple were married for 18 years. In this time they established a sportswear clothing business, firstly operating from their garage and then growing to several branches in the UK and turning over £30 million a year.
After their divorce in 2005 the wife had received a lump sum of £150,000 and the matrimonial home (valued at £700,000) from the husband. Her share of the business was then transferred to the husband. No order was made at this time finalising their financial affairs.
In 2013 Mrs Briers applied for financial remedy proceedings and an Order was made. Mr Briers then appealed the decision.
At the time of appeal in 2015 Mr Briers argued that a clean break had been agreed and therefore there should be no financial remedy proceedings.
On appeal the key issue to consider was whether the parties had reached a full and final settlement at the time of their divorce and if not, what would be a fair proportion now.
The Court of Appeal found that there had not been full and final settlement at the time of divorce. It was held that the husband had not given full disclosure which the wife had specifically requested and the husband had controlled most of the discussions/ agreements at the time. The Court drew attention to the fact that a solicitor present at a meeting between the parties had noted that the wife’s agreement of a clean break would be conditional on the husband’s full disclosure.
Given the wife’s involvement in the business at the beginning and the ongoing contribution as home-owner and carer to their three children the Court decided the husband should pay £2.7millon to the wife. It represented between 27% and 30% of the husband’s wealth. The Court of Appeal upheld the award.
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