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Richard Kershaw comments on Oligarch’s ex-wife losing £1m divorce bonus in Family Law Week

  • October 09, 2017
  • By Hunters Law

MFPA 1984 Part III award overturned by Court of Appeal

A husband has succeeded in setting aside a lump sum award to his wife of £1,148,480 in proceedings under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 Part III.

In Zimina v Zimin [2017] EWCA Civ 1429 the husband appealed against an order by Mrs Justice Roberts who had ordered him to pay to the wife a lump sum of £1,148,480 together with provision for the children of the marriage.
The issue before the Court of Appeal related not to the quantum of the lump sum in itself, but as to whether it was appropriate for the judge to have made a lump sum order at all.

Richard Kershaw, Partner at Hunters Solicitors, commented:

“At a time of fracturing geo-political relationships, this judgment comes as a timely reminder of the international legislative reach of the English divorce courts.

The snappily titled Statute “The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, Part III: financial relief in England and Wales after overseas divorce” allows the financially weaker spouse to make a monetary claim in the English courts to alleviate the adverse consequences of no – or no adequate – financial provision on divorce in a foreign court.

Unfortunately for Ella Zimina, who made a Part III application five years after reaching an informed agreement in Russia with her husband about the division of their matrimonial finances, the Court of Appeal has overturned an earlier High Court Judge’s award of £1.14 million.

As ever, the outcome of the case is driven by its narrative. Much turned on the fact that the parties had freely reached a binding agreement, then made into a formal court order in Russia, with the assistance of lawyers on either side, producing an outcome which the Court of Appeal found was undoubtedly fair; she had received $10m out of a then matrimonial “pot” of $13.3m.

Part III claims remain a legitimate way of alleviating the adverse consequences of inadequate financial provision on divorce in foreign countries, a scenario which is increasingly likely in today’s fragmenting world. Individuals in this position should not be disheartened by this judgment.”

Read the full article in Family Law Week here

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