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Rebecca Christie comments on high profile divorces in Citywealth

  • February 19, 2020
  • By Rebecca Christie, Associate

With series two of BBC legal drama The Split currently airing, featuring the complexities of high profile divorces, it is timely to look at a developing issue surrounding celebrity divorce.

“The starting point is that both parties share the wealth created by their endeavours during the marriage”, said Rebecca Christie, family law associate at Hunters. However, it’s important to note that “future income is not subject to the sharing principle, as it arises from work done after the marriage has ended”. However, when it comes to royalties, they are an “interesting hybrid as they generate income in the future, based on work carried out in the past”.

“Where the royalty payments related to the band’s music created during the parties’ relationship, the court’s approach was to attribute a capital value to the income stream produced by the royalties, and provide for that value to be shared between the parties”, said Christie.

For the most part, the division between the parties was equal but for two streams it was not. “One of the royalty streams to which the husband was entitled was a share of the lead songwriter’s royalties. The court identified that there was an “element of gratuity” in this, as the lead songwriter was under no obligation to share his song-writing royalties with the other band-members. As gifts are not considered to be the product of a party’s ‘endeavours’, they don’t have to be shared on divorce. Taking this into account, only 75% of the capitalised value of this royalty stream was shared between the parties”, said Christie.

Read the full article in Citywealth here

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