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Multi-million pound ‘gay divorce’ tests civil partnership law

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  1. Dave North 9 Mar 2012, 10:13am

    Lucky for some.

    My “civil partnership” speech consisted of: “With these debts I thee wed, and they are all yours should I snuff it.”

  2. Not a lot of sympathy. If the rich one was so worried about his assets he should have organised a prenup.

    It can be a hard discussion to have but there is no use crying foul after the horses has bolted.

    1. Prenups have no legal standing in the UK.

      1. Really – didn’t know that. Is that just for civil union or is it for marriage as well ?

      2. Charles Gormley 9 Mar 2012, 12:46pm

        Pre-nups do have legal standing in the UK since the Radmacher case.

        1. Yes but they are still discretionary.

          A judge may choose to listen to it but is not obliged to.

  3. And so we see the need for marriage equality. The argument that CP is not perceived as having the same level of commitment, etc. The arguments we’re seeing here would never be made had the couple involved been heterosexual and married.

    1. Yes they would. It just wouldn’t make headline news. But isn’t this what we’re fighting for FULL EQUALITY under the law???? we need to take the good with the bad………..

    2. My Lord! Have you never seen a straight divorce! Some people will say or argue absolutely anything. Terrible people weeping into hankies full of chopped onions and making themselves out to be the injured party with a load of tosh about what lovely homemakers they were when in fact they were credit card junkies, spongers or whatever. It may not be nice but all seems to be fair in love, war and divorce and in that sense this case seems to show that Civil Partnerships are being treated just the same as straight marriages!

  4. Not really sure why this qualifies as news.

    1. This is news because it’s an important test-case to determine how assets will be split when a CP ends. The outcome of this case affects anyone going into a CP with assets – and many average-income people will have a flat or house before a CP. In my opinion, the Appeal Court is likely to include the flat.

      In a divorce, pre-marital assets would be included, but that is partly by precedent rather than legislation. Divorce law applies to CPs; now the court has to decide whether divorce precedent applies too. The wealthier partner is arguing CPs should be treated differently.

      Another point is the brevity of the CP. When couples cohabit before marriage, courts usually discount much of that time and look only at marriage length. For a 7-month marriage, that would likely have reduced the settlement considerably. But the lower court seems to have taken into account the fact that for over half of this couple’s 11-year cohabitation, CPs were not possible, and raised the settlement to match.

      1. I have a choice: point out that little you’ve said is correct, or simply realise that I’d be wasting my valuable time.

        I’ll go with the latter and return to work (er, as a solicitor specialising in divorce and separation cases, but don’t let that trouble you. :D )

        1. It’s a shame your time wasn’t too valuable for you to bother with [er] such a patronising and unhelpful response.

  5. They have no children so I think the judge will not be excessively generous to the poor half of the couple.

    I think he deserves to have a nice semi-detached house paid for by his ex (worth £250,000) and and a 1 off payment of £110,000 (£10,000 for every year they were together.

    What more could he possibly think he deserves.

    Then again as we’ve seen with straight marriages, divorce often brings out the golddigger in people.

  6. May I point out that they were only CP’d for 7 months and that both parties at the time of the divorce had good incomes.

    I wouldn’t fall for the line that this is testing the principal of equality with heterosexual marriage: there are plenty of straight divorces where the assets each partner brings to the marriage are considered as being in a different class compared to those that accrue to the couple during the marriage. I also believe that straight divorce cases take into account children.

    This is clearly a complex case and I wouldn’t fall for a QCs line that it is testing Gay Equality. He’s a lawyer, and he’ll say whatever the thinks will work. That is rhetorical, cheap, and rather insulting to the community of people it appears to be defending. Playing victim gets us nowhere, other than stuck as victims. I would bet you quite a lot that this QC is not working pro bono for the gay rights movement! I tend to agree with the Gold Digger hypothesis that someone else here put forward

  7. This is STUPID to have this spin put on it. It clearly says the argument is over a flat purchased before the civil partnership, when everything is still separate. I fail to see how this is going affect The Big Picture. This is petty in comparison.

    1. In the UK one does not need to be married or CP’ed to be regarded as a common-law spouse.

      They were together for 11 years so clearly this was not a brief relationship.

      So it’s not that simple.

  8. If they have two homes why not just take one each? The country cottage can be sold for £900k FFS. That would easily buy a nice flat close to West End theatres, leaving the City guy with the flat close to where he needs it.

    Christ, is this all it comes down to in the end? How much you can wring out of someone?

  9. Spanner1960 9 Mar 2012, 10:53pm

    I still support gay marriage.
    Live by the sword, die by the sword.
    Marriage was never a perfect situation, but at least all of us would then suffer the retributions equally when it all goes tits-up.

  10. Paul Halsall 10 Mar 2012, 1:22pm

    The arguments apparently made by the richer guy’s lawyer are appalling.

    Equality means equality.

    That means, when we campaign for equal legal status as heterosexual couples, we also accept the costs and responsibilities that come with equality.

    This case reminds me of some of the broken-up lesbian-couple cases in the US where the birth-mother suddenly tries to deny access to a couples children by invoking only heterosexual assumptions about family relationships.

    This case also shows why we need out right marriage equality for same sex couples.

  11. I don’t really see why he should get o much. Married or not, he just didn’t contribute as much as his partner.

  12. If we want equality we have to accept equality in all shapes
    A heterosexual in the same position would have the 11 years of living together taking into consideration in terms of assets
    Regardless of who earns the most the couple have put time effort and money into this relationship for almost 12 yrs therefore are entitled to equal shares

    Anyway it’s sad that they separated after 7 mths. Certain people will use this in the bigoted arguments against CP and marriage

  13. See!! It doesn’t matter if you are Gay, Straight, Bi, Tri or whatever! We are human and we are all equal when it comes to relationships, working or failing. We are Human and all equal on more matters than not and sexuality is only 1 tiny thing against alot of bigger issues.l

  14. Sean from Isleworth 15 Mar 2012, 2:54pm

    We all wanted equality of rights and we got it – with rights comes security and responsibility. If a couple choose legal union they do so knowing they have secured each other in each other’s assets and the outcome of divorce is a 50/50 split of those assets.

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