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Inheritance payments received after separation, should they be included into the pot even if transferred to a third party?

01 June 2010

This case involved a long marriage of 19 years. The wife's grandmother passed away prior to the separation but the estate was not divided until after our client (the husband) commenced divorce proceedings. Ancillary relief proceedings were issued by us and during that time the wife received approximately £80,000 from her inheritance. These payments consisted of a small interim payment prior to separation and the majority paid after. The wife transferred the majority of the monies into her parents’ names and bought bonds in her father's name with the money clearly to frustrate our client's claim for ancillary relief. Based on a long marriage, we offered a settlement based on 50% of all assets, which included the inheritance. The wife was adamant and through the advice of her solicitor with over 23 years experience and her barrister who is head of his chambers with 34 years experience, refused to include the inheritance monies into the settlement and sought a split of the assets excluding this sum. Moreover, she claimed that the monies had been given to her parents and could and should not be included. At final hearing, the District Judge agreed with our approach and awarded our client 50% of all assets including the inheritance monies.