The circumstances to the case are that Mr and Mrs Taylor met when they were young and began to cohabit in 1982 in their early 20s. They married in 1988 and there are four adult children of the marriage. The parties finally separated in 2014 after 26 years of marriage.
Mrs Taylor never worked during the marriage and had been a homemaker. Mr Taylor is a world famous and renowned professional darts player. The court heard ‘he was unparalleled in terms of his success and his worldwide recognition’. He built up an empire of around £3.4 million in assets. This included a number of properties and he earnt around £1 million a year.
In addition to being ordered to pay £830,000 lump sum payment to his wife which equated to around 58% of the total available property, she was to retain the former matrimonial home, property in Tenerife and other investment properties. Mr Taylor was to retain the remainder of the properties. She was also to retain Mr Taylor’s pension amounting to £149,000. This financial settlement would be on a clean break basis.
When giving consideration to the division of the matrimonial assets the court will consider what is referred to as the section 25 factors. These are as follows:
a) The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
b) The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
c) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
d) The age of each party to marriage and the duration of the marriage
e) Any physical or mental disability of either parties to the marriage
f) The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to welfare of the family coming including any contributions by looking after the home or caring for the family.
g) The conduct of each of the parties if in the opinion of the court it would be inequitable to disregard it
The settlement was on the basis that Mr Taylor could maintain the lifespan of his top-level career for around 2 to 4 years and that Mrs Taylor had no realistic earning capacity. The parties’ standard of living was to a high level but not extravagant. Mrs Taylor had no experience at all in relation to the rental properties and the fairest way was for the parties to share responsibility and risk. Mrs Taylor could derive some income from the investment properties.
The case was considered to be ‘needs’ based because Mrs Taylor required security. The lump sum payment ordered to Mrs Taylor enabled her to have sufficient capital and also an income generating fund to meet her reasonable needs over time. The payment was ‘capitalised’. This meant Mr Taylor made a one off payment instead of monthly or annual payments to Mrs Taylor.
A central consideration was whether provision for a clean break order or an order for periodical payments was required for Mrs Taylor. Provision for a clean break meant that neither party would be able to pursue any further financial claims against the other in the future or on death. An order for periodical payments in favour of Mrs Taylor would have meant that she could have received maintenance payments from Mr Taylor over a lifetime.
Pensions also form part of the ‘matrimonial pot’ when considering the division of the matrimonial assets. In this case there was to be a pension sharing order in favour of Mrs Taylor in relation to all of Mr Taylor’s pensions. This was so that it gave Mrs Taylor some modest pension provision.
The court is not under a duty to ensure that a home is available for a wife. The housing needs of the parties are a factor but not the only consideration for the court. Although Mrs Taylor retained the former matrimonial home and five other properties in many cases there are insufficient assets available to meet each spouse’s capital needs.
If you are considering getting divorced it is vital to obtain specialist advice in this area at the outset. The division of matrimonial assets can be complex with a number of factors required to be taken into account to determine financial settlement.
Thursfield’s family lawyers are specialists in this area of law and have a great deal of experience and knowledge. For further information contact Sonali Obhrai on 01902 904 060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.