M v M (Financial Relief: Substantial Earning Capacity): FD 29 Mar 2004

The parties had been married for 12 years, there were three children, one with special needs, and assets of over 12 million pounds. The court considered the application for ancillary relief. It was substantially agreed that the wife should receive half of the assets at the date of separation, but she sought a similar proportion of the increase since.
Held: The case of GW was to be preferred to Foley. The wife’s continuing duties of care for the children were to be taken into account. The court acknowledged the significance of the length of the marriage and of the period of cohabitation before the marriage: ‘there ought to be an acknowledgement in the level of award to take account of this factor. I regard this marriage as in the lower end of the bracket of medium to long term, which means that an equal division is not necessarily to be regarded as almost automatic. ‘ As to the budget prepared for the wife: ‘Those who practice in this field know that a budget is a work of art (and sometimes a work of artifice) but the Court must be entitled to take a realistic view. The original budget in this case was very high in the context of previous lifestyle. ‘ The court did not consider the husband’s expected high future earnings to be a marital asset.


Baron DBE J


[2004] Fam Law 496, [2004] EWHC 688 (Fam), [2004] 2 FLR 236




England and Wales


PreferredGW v RW (Financial Provision: Departure from Equality) FD 18-Mar-2003
An entitlement to an equal division must reflect not only the parties’ respective contributions ‘but also an accrual over time’, and it would be ‘fundamentally unfair’ that a party who has made domestic contributions during a marriage of 12 years . .
CitedFoley v Foley CA 1981
The court considered the effect on a divorce ancillary relief settlement of a period of cohabitation before the marriage. . .
CitedLambert v Lambert CA 14-Nov-2002
The parties appealed an order for the division of the family’s 20 million pound fortune on divorce. The husband argued that his special contribution to the creation of the wealth meant that he should receive a greater share.
Held: The Act gave . .
CitedCornick v Cornick (No 2) FD 1995
The court considered an application to vary an ancillary relief award and gave a wife more than the sum set out in the budget in circumstances where she had received a capital sum that, with hindsight, was far too low.
Hale J said: ‘Where such . .
CitedJ v J FD 23-Jan-2004
Ancillary relief. . .
CitedM v M 2003
The court considered how to treat periodical payments in a settlement of an ancillary relief claim where a clean break was not possible and where the husband had a substantial income. . .
CitedCornick v Cornick (No 2) CA 2-Jan-1995
The court considered the boundary of its power in ordering periodical payments: ‘I do not believe that Hale J erred in her approach in principle to this case, and I reject the submission which Mr Mostyn has made that there was a delimiting factor . .
CitedCowan v Cowan CA 14-May-2001
When considering the division of matrimonial assets following a divorce, the court’s duty was, within the context of the rules set down by the Act, to impose a fair settlement according to the circumstances. Courts should be careful not to make . .
CitedPurba v Purba CA 1-Jul-1999
The court considered an appeal against an award in an ancillary relief case on divorce. The husband had it was thought deliberately hidden assets, but the husband claimed that the wife’s budget was excessive. Thorpe LJ said: ‘I see no force in the . .
CitedWhite v White HL 26-Oct-2000
The couple going through the divorce each had substantial farms and wished to continue farming. It had been a long marriage.
Held: Where a division of the assets of a family would satisfy the reasonable needs of either party on an ancillary . .

Cited by:

CitedSorrell v Sorrell FD 29-Jul-2005
The parties contested ancillary relief on their divorce. The marriage had been very long, and the assets were very substantial. The husband contended that these assets represented an exceptional contribution on his part.
Held: In this case an . .
See AlsoMiller v Miller; M v M (Short Marriage: Clean Break) CA 29-Jul-2005
The parties contested ancillary relief where there had been only a short marriage, but where here were considerable family assets available for division. The wife sought to rely upn the husband’s behaviour to counter any argument as to the shortness . .
Not followedMiller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane HL 24-May-2006
Fairness on Division of Family Capital
The House faced the question of how to achieve fairness in the division of property following a divorce. In the one case there were substantial assets but a short marriage, and in the other a high income, but low capital.
Held: The 1973 Act . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 03 February 2022; Ref: scu.195568