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"Special contributions" divorce case could provide hope to stay-at-home parents

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A recent divorce case could have far-reaching implications for both stay-at-home parents and for spouses who wish to prove that they have made “special contributions” to a marriage.

In the case of wealthy American banker Randy Work and his ex-wife Mandy Gray, the banker attempted to overturn a previous ruling which had granted Ms Gray an equal share of his fortune.

The Court of Appeal heard that the duo had started living together in 1992, married in 1995, had children together and both held “good and modest jobs”.

However, Mr Work argued that he had made an exceptional contribution to the marriage through his “genius,” on account of the fact that he had begun working for a lucrative private equity firm in 1997 – where his annual earnings quickly snowballed thanks to his “ground-breaking methodologies”.

While at the company, reports suggests that the banker’s total earnings surpassed £239m.

However, at the point the couple first appeared in Court, his wealth equated to around £180m.

Previously, although Mr Work had built up the bulk of his fortune alone, a Court had found that Ms Gray had contributed to the marriage significantly by bringing up and caring for the couples’ children.

This view was upheld by the Court of Appeal, after a panel of three Judges ruled that he had failed to prove that the marriage had not been one of “strong and equal partners over 20 years”.

The case could have future ramifications for other spouses who wish to prove that they have made “special contributions to a marriage”.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling also offers hope for other stay-at-home parents – who may fear that they would not be able to afford to leave an unhappy marriage.

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