Husband said £400,000 Severance Pay was Not Part of Divorce Settlement

30 October 2015

Divorce Case Study - Client Situation

A couple had reached agreement about Money Matters in Divorce through Mediation. The financial assets included equity of £1m and a pension worth £800,000 and the couple had two children at university.

The divorce financial settlement agreement provided for the wife to receive a pension sharing order to equalise income upon retirement and for the capital assets to be divided 60/40 in the wife’s favour. The husband had agreed to pay spousal maintenance as there was a large difference in earning capacity.

Whilst in the process of preparing the Consent Order, it was discovered that the husband had received a large severance payment from his employers, in the region of £400,000 which affected the overall distribution of financial assets in their divorce.

Our Divorce Solicitors had to act quickly to secure the payment as the husbands view was that this was not an asset available for distribution. After threatening a Freezing Order, the sum was secured so that negotiations could take place.

The husband persisted in his view that the money should be ring-fenced and so the matter proceeded to Court.

Our case was that whilst the husband had not received the money until after separation, it was still a matrimonial asset available for distribution because the payment was as a result of the husbands employment, most of which had taken place during the course of the marriage when he had been supported by the wife who had also been caring for the children.

The Outcome

On the morning of the final hearing the husband agreed to a final order which provided for the severance payment to be divided as to 30% to the wife in addition to the provisions which were agreed in Mediation. The husband wished to retain more than half of the severance payment to allow him time to seek alternative employment (during which time he would have to pay the agreed sum of maintenance).

The wife was happy with the outcome which was achieved without a full trial and which was endorsed by the District Judge as being a reasonable divorce financial settlement. Had the wife not been confident of the legal advice received and her position, she would not have been prepared to pursue the matter to a final hearing and would not have received her fair entitlement.

Divorce Case Studies

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