16 January, 2020
It has been reported in the papers today that I'm a Celebrity's Ant McPartlin has reached a divorce settlement with his estranged Wife, Lisa Armstrong, following a long and quite heavily publicised legal battle.
The couple married in July 2006 and subsequently announced their plans to divorce in January 2018. The marriage was legally brought to an end in October 2018 ending the 11-year union. In order to achieve such a quick divorce, without the need for the parties to be legally separated for at least 2 years, they would have had to rely on the grounds of either unreasonable behaviour or adultery.
The apparent settlement gives Ms Armstrong £31million of their reported asset pot of £50million.
The starting point in any financial settlement in ancillary relief proceedings is a 50/50 division of assets. It is then for the Judge to determine whether there are any reasons why there should be a departure from equality. The main reasons for any departure from equality would be that one spouse brought significantly more assets into the marriage than the other and/or if they later acquired significant assets after separation had already taken place. On this basis, if there were to be any departure from equality it would be thought that it would have more likely been in Mr McPartlin's favour rather than Ms Armstrong's.
Many couples, when going through ancillary relief proceedings, quite often presume that if one spouse has committed adultery that they should be treated more harshly when it comes to resolving the finances. However, the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage rarely have any impact on the financial settlement and the Court simply looks at what is in 'the pot' and how it is to be apportioned fairly taking into account each parties' needs.
Ms Armstrong is refuting this reported settlement however; it will certainly be an interesting case to keep an eye on with regards to the settlement reached and the reasoning for the same.
For more information contact Rebecca Comber in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01772 220171. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.