About us

Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

agr (1) Agriculture & Farming (9) Arbitration (2) Articles (11) Bribery Act (1) Business (36) Business Law (2) Charity (1) Charity Fundraising (9) Children Issues (10) Cohabitation (11) Collaborative Law (4) Commercial (8) Commercial Property (12) Compromise Agreements (5) Consumer (3) Contracts (2) Copyright (1) Corporate and M&A (18) Corporate Finance (7) Debt Recovery (2) Defamation (1) Development Rights (1) Dispute Resolution (46) Disputed Wills (6) Divorce (12) Divorce and Separation (24) Education (1) Employment (39) Employment Advice (18) Employment Law (21) Employment Rights (12) Employment Tribunal (13) Environment Agency Prosecutions (2) Environmental Law (5) Expert Witnesses (1) Family Businesses (6) Family Law (31) Family Mediation (9) fFamily Mediation (1) Freedom Workshop (1) General (13) Health & Safety (2) Inheritance Tax (2) Insolvency & Bankruptcy (1) Insurance (3) Intellectual Property (4) Landlord & Tenant (7) Lasting Powers of Attorney (3) Lawyers (3) Legal Update (6) Letter of Claim (2) Marriage (10) Motoring (12) Pension (1) Personal Affairs (12) Personal Injury (9) Pre-nuptial Agreements (4) Professional Advisers (4) Professional Negligence (3) Profile (2) Property (17) Property Disputes (18) Redundancies (7) Renewable Energy (2) Residential Conveyancing (6) Scams (1) Selling (1) Selling Company (1) Seminar (2) Small Claims (1) SME (1) Social Media (2) Tax (3) Tax Planning (6) Terms and Conditions (2) Trusts (6) UKELA (1) Unfair Dismissal (5) Wills & Estates (12) Wind Farm (2) Workshop (2) wWills & Estates (1)

Topics


Contributors


Monthly Archives

Thursday
Jul272017

Marriage: A Partnership of Equals?

 

In 2006, the House of Lords introduced the equal sharing principle in the joint appeal of Miller -v- Miller and MacFarlane -v- MacFarlane.  The Court described marriage as being a “partnership of equals”

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal decision in  Work -v- Gray referred to the sharing principle as being “firmly embedded” and confirmed that the “ordinary consequence of its application will be the equal division of matrimonial property”.

However, in the recent case of Sharp -v- Sharp, the Court of Appeal decided that perhaps this was taking the sharing principle too far.  Mr and Mrs Sharp were in their early 40s and had no children.  Their relationship, including 18 months of living together before their marriage, lasted 6 years.

Mrs Sharp argued that the sharing principle should be relaxed in respect of their matrimonial assets. This was because  of their short, childless, dual career marriage and the way in which they had organised their financial affairs.

Throughout their relationship and marriage, Mr and Mrs Sharp shared household utility bills and divided restaurant bills equally. Mr Sharp had not been aware of bonuses received by Mrs Sharp and she had gifted him three cars.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Mrs Sharp that this situation fell within the realms of a very small amount of cases where it was appropriate for the equal sharing principle to be disregarded for their matrimonial assets.

The Court has always had the ability to exclude or depart from equal sharing of non-matrimonial assets, such as those owned by one party before the marriage or received by inheritance or gift, the general approach has been that matrimonial assets would be shared, and where they were sufficient to meet each parties’ needs, those matrimonial assets would be shared equally.

It appears that following the outcome of this case,  Courts will look more closely at how couples have organised their financial affairs in short to medium term marriages.  In a limited number of cases,  the way in which couples organise  their finances may influence the outcome of financial aspects of their divorce.

To misquote George Orwell, this may lead to an assumption that all marriages are equal, but some marriages are more equal than others.

For further advice following a relationship breakdown please contact Melanie Pilmer, solicitor in the Family Team at Greene & Greene on 01284 717 418 or melaniepilmer@greene-greene.com.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Is your property at risk from fraudsters? | Main | Employment tribunal fees unlawful »