27 October 2000
Farm case rocks divorce law
LAW lords have ruled that the former wife of a farmer is entitled to a divorce payout that exceeds the current benchmark of providing a house and lifetime maintenance.
The case, which is reported in most of the daily papers, has been seen as a landmark judgement and is likely to have implications for other divorcing farmers.
It has been interpreted as paving the way for wives of wealthier husbands to win more substantial settlements in future.
The ruling was the culmination of a four-year battle between a Devon farmer and his former wife over a 4.6 million farm business they built up over 33 years, reports the Financial Times.
Pamela White had claimed an equal share of the business after Martin White, her ex-husband paid her a 800,000 sum when their marriage ended in 1995, reports the paper.
After the Court of Appeal increased her award by 700,000 both parties appealed the decision.
Mrs White claimed she was entitled to a half share of the whole farm business, but Mr White argued the original payment was adequate.
At a sitting yesterday, the Lords dismissed both appeals and ruled that Mrs White could keep the money the Court of Appeal had awarded.
The Lords ruled that an equal division of assets ran contrary to English law, but payoffs had to reflect the individual circumstances of each case.
- Financial Times p 7
- The Times p 7
- The Guardian p 10
- Daily Mail, p 23
- Daily Telegraph p 14