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Special contributions and ‘geniuses’

Philip Hunter considers the thorny issue of ‘special contributions’ and the direction the court might take to address the difficulties presented to practitioners when advising clients

30 May 2017

Section 25(2)(f) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) requires the court to consider the contributions made, or likely to be made in the foreseeable future, by spouses to the welfare of the family. The courts recognise that in some circumstances, one party may have made a ‘special contribution’ to that welfare, which may result in a departure from presumptive equality in favour of the party that made the special contribution.

In Miller v Miller [2006] UKHL 24, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead stated: ‘Parties should not seek to promote a case of “special contribution” unless the contribution is so marked that to disregard it would be inequitable. A good reason for departing from equality is not to be found in the minutiae of married life.’

Echoing Mr Justice Coleridge in G v G (Financial Provision: Equal Division) [2002] EWHC 1339, Lor...

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