Disabled husband wins extra

Posted: 23rd October 2011

A recent dispute over a divorce settlement dealt with an unusual situation. The husband had been in an accident and was partially disabled. He had received £500,000 in compensation as a result.
The money was used to buy a property that was specially adapted for his needs, where the family lived, and an investment property to provide a rental income for the family. The purchase of the family home was also partially financed by the proceeds of the sale of the wife's previous home.
When they separated, the husband remained in the family home and the wife and their twin children moved into the property that had been rented out.
The lower court ordered that the assets of the marriage be divided approximately equally. The husband appealed this decision all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled that although the family assets were in principle all 'matrimonial assets' (and would thus be subject, in normal circumstances, to a 50:50 division on divorce), the husband's particular needs had to be considered.
To this end, the Court ordered that the rental property should be sold when the children reached the age of 18, and one third of the proceeds should be paid to the husband at that time to accommodate his needs, which are likely to increase over time.
The Court stressed the principle that each case must be determined on its own facts.