House husband and investment banker in £11m divorce dispute

By Lenore Rice

A stay-at-home husband has filed for divorce from his investment banker wife and the two are disputing the marital assets estimated at £11million, and in what country the divorce should be heard.

Weng Choy filed for divorce from wife Lena Yan in January 2012 in the English High Court. Their sons went to public schools in England and they owned a £4.5million apartment in Kensington, however Mrs Yan says her husband does not have the right to divorce her in England. She has filed for divorce in Malaysia, with her solicitors contesting that the couple's home remained in Hong Kong, and that Mr Choy only moved more permanently to England after a row with his wife around Christmas 2011. Mrs Yan is requesting that the London Appeal Court overturn a previous High Court decision so that the divorce cannot proceed in the UK.

Mr Choy's solicitors point to the couple's substantial investments in the UK, and the High Court has already ruled that he had been "habitually resident" in London for at least a year before filing for divorce, therefore entitling him to have his case heard in the UK. The High Court ordered Mr Choy's wife to pay £100,000 towards the cost of his divorce solicitors.

The Court of Appeal will give their ruling on whether the divorce can proceed in the UK at a later date.

The case demonstrates once again the attraction of the UK courts for divorce by the less wealthy spouse in a relationship, and also highlights the complications that can emerge in 'international marriages' that involve homes in various countries and frequent travelling.

If you are considering a separation and require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.

Or to read information about family law issues in Northern Ireland click here.