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Landmark ruling could have ramifications for couples caught in financial disputes following 'short marriages'

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A recent Court of Appeal ruling could have important ramifications for couples caught in financial disputes following a brief or short marriage.

In the case of Sharp v Sharp, a wealthy career woman successfully challenged a previous ruling that her ex-husband, Robin Sharp, should be entitled to 50 per cent of the fortune she built up during the course of their relationship.

Mr and Mrs Sharp first met in 2007 and subsequently married in June 2009. Their marriage ended in 2014, after Mrs Sharp discovered that her husband had started a new relationship.

At the point of separation, the “matrimonial pot” sat at around £6.9m, according to reports.

In 2015, Family Court Judge ruled that IT Consultant Mr Sharp should be awarded a £2.725m pay-out.

At the time, Sir Peter Singer told a Court: “No sufficient reason has been identified in this case for departing from equality of division.

However, taking her case to the Court of Appeal, Mrs Sharp alleged that her ex-husband should not be entitled to half of the money on account of the “short marriage” they shared – which lasted around four years.

The Court of Appeal ruled in her favour, with Lord Justice McFarlane, Lord Justice McCombe and Lord Justice David Richards deciding that the pay-out to Mr Sharp should be reduced to £2m.

According to a number of experts and commentators, couples who divorce after ‘short marriages’ cannot and should not expect that their assets will be split equally ‘by default’ following the landmark ruling.

MFG Solicitors’ family team can advise on divorce and related financial disputes. For more information, please contact us.