Divorce case decision opens door for genius wealth protection

By Lenore Rice

The High Court judgement in a divorce case involving a wealthy couple could result in the creation of 'genius wealth' protection.

The Court was hearing the divorce case of Sir Chris Hohn and his wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn, and involved wealth of around £780million, making it one of the largest divorce cases in the UK. The judge held that Mrs Cooper-Hohn should receive £330million, with her husband maintaining the lion's share of the wealth. The comments of Mr Justice Roberts when explaining the decision not to split the wealth equally has attracted much attention from divorce solicitors throughout the UK. The judge made particular comment about Sir Chris Hohn's exceptional ability and called him a "financial genius". He said that the couple would have no money to divide if it were not for the 'genius' of Sir Chris Hohn, and awarded him the larger share of the assets.

The judgement paves the way for divorce solicitors to argue that wealth was obtained as a result of the special ability of one of the spouses, and that it should therefore be protected from the pot of assets being considered for the financial settlement. The real test will be if the decision is cited and applied in a future divorce case to see if other family law judges add strength to the notion of 'genius wealth',

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