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Law Articles

Credit crunch divorces 01/05/2009

After the 1st of April 2009 the chances of setting aside a divorce settlement (court order) because of the dramatic change in the economy are very slim. The Court of Appeal in Myerson v Myerson gave a firm indication that such applications would be unlikely to succeed.

Mr Myerson appealed against the original court order made in March 2008 which then provided for the matrimonial assets to be split 57%/43% in his favour. The grounds for his appeal were that there were new events that had happened since the date of the original court order which invalidated the entire basis of the agreement namely, the financial meltdown in the world markets. He said that given the change in the markets, his share of the matrimonial assets was now in fact only 14%.

The Court of Appeal rejected the Husband’s appeal for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Husband had consented to the court order and in doing so had agreed to take on the risk-laden matrimonial assets. The court stated that the astonishing 90% drop in the Husband's share price was a “natural process of price fluctuation” and that is was not enough to reopen the court order.

Undoubtedly, the Court of Appeal wanted to make a policy statement to discourage substantial reopening of court orders. The decision restates current law whereby judges are wary of reopening court orders, save in the most exceptional of circumstances.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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