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Court of Appeal rules £2.7 million divorce pay-out was "intrinsically unfair"

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A £2.7 million divorce settlement previously awarded to the husband of a wealthy businesswoman has been slashed by thousands of pounds following a fresh hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Successful City trader Julie Arnold originally divorced her then-spouse Robin Sharp in 2013, after it was uncovered that he had been having “a clandestine affair.”

Following a long-running dispute, the High Court ordered a 50:50 settlement in June last year, much to the annoyance of Ms Arnold, who had long accused her ex-husband of “winning the lottery” simply by being unfaithful.

Ms Arnold, who reportedly earned some £10.5 million in bonuses during the course of their marriage, said that the High Court’s ruling was “unjust” as she had made an “overwhelming contribution” to their collective wealth.

According to reports, the couple enjoyed two luxury country homes in Gloucestershire together, one of which was originally purchased for more than £2 million.

Ms Arnold had accumulated millions of pounds of wealth due to her successes in the ‘soaring’ energy market during their marriage, while Mr Sharp, who was working as an IT Consultant, was earning approximately £100,000 a year in comparison.

The disgruntled City trader took her case to the Court of Appeal, which earlier this week reduced the sum that Mr Sharp will receive from £2.7 million to £2 million, upon finding that the initial settlement was “intrinsically unfair.”

Reviewing the case, Lord Justice MacFarlane said that a ‘departure’ from English matrimonial law, which makes provision for a 50:50 division of assets in similar cases, was appropriate in the case of Mr Sharp and Ms Arnold.

Following the decision, the wealthy businesswoman is calling for legislative change, amid concerns that existing divorce laws are outdated.

She has argued that existing laws – which “rely on a 1973 Act and distribute wealth based on [outdated] case law” fail to take into account the fact that many modern couples are now getting married later in life and staying together for shorter periods of time.

MFG Solicitors’ family team can advise on divorce, related financial disputes and all other aspects of family law. For more information about how we could help you, please contact us.