XW v XH: A critical win for gender equality

This case concerned a husband and a wife who married in 2008 and subsequently separated in 2015. There was one child born to the marriage who was severely disabled.

The matrimonial assets were substantial, with the business alone worth around £490 million. The wife sought an equal division of the same. The husband however was only content on giving her a share that satisfied her “needs.”

The original judgement handed down in December 2017 awarded the wife, who was the sole carer of the couple’s severely disabled child, only 29% of the couple’s combined wealth because of the alleged “special contribution” to the marriage made by the husband, a highly successfully businessman.

Lord Justice Moylan overturned the ruling in December of last year and on appeal the wife received a lump sum of £145 million and the £3.7 million jointly owned property.

He said: “In this case, the wife’s enormous contribution to the welfare and happiness of the family, as the homemaker and principal carer of the child of the family, both during and after the marriage, has been and will be incalculable.  She has devoted herself to the day-to-day care of a child with special needs and by doing so and has freed the husband to a very considerable extent to enable him to pursue the business activities which have generated the enormous wealth now available.”

Such ruling has been hailed as a “critical win for gender equality” in divorce. The ruling has further ensured that the financial contributions made by one party to the marriage in terms of generating the income should not be prioritised over the domestic contributions made by the other party in terms of looking after the children of the family.

Written by Anila Naeem

If you have any questions regarding this update, please contact Anila Naeem, Senior Associate Solicitor on 020 8290 7344 or anaeem@judge-priestley.co.uk.