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Judge compares divorcing couple to squabbling children

A senior judge has likened a “very rich” couple to a pair of spoilt, squabbling children as they fight over a £26m divorce settlement.

10 July 2012

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Lord Justice Thorpe, sitting yesterday (9 July 2012) in the Court of Appeal, said: “It seems to me almost puerile; these very rich people distrusting and disliking each other intensely, so somebody has to come into the nursery to make some rules to dissipate all this nonsense.”

He also criticised the “completely disproportionate” legal bills spent on the case by American entrepreneur Mark Evans and his wife Jenifer. “I simply cannot understand how the parties can litigate with such profligate extravagance,” he said.

Jenifer Evans filed for divorce from her husband Mark in April 2011, having separated in July 2010 after 25 years of marriage. Judges were told that the couple were “penniless” when they married in 1985, but had become multi-millionaires after setting up a financial IT firm. Mark Evans’ shares in their computer firm, Confluence Corporation, are believed to be worth at least £40m and their shared assets £12m, according to the Telegraph.

Jenifer Evans was originally awarded assets worth £26m following a decree nisi in April last year. However, Mrs Evans feared that after their divorce her husband might legally transfer his company shares to another person, thereby denying her the full payout, and successfully applied to have that ruling set aside. The couple are still waiting for another hearing to divide their wealth.

Meanwhile, she went to the Court of Appeal to block the decree absolute, arguing that she needed a “cast-iron guarantee” that her husband’s shares could not be sold or transferred.

Jenifer Evans’ barrister, Charles Howard QC, warned that there was a “very considerable risk” that the “great bulk” of the money built up during their marriage could be kept from her.

If the divorce were finalised before a fresh judgment on how their assets should be divided, she could be left “sitting on an empty judgment”, he argued.

“We are worried the wife is not going to get her share of Confluence,” the barrister told the Appeal Court. “Once there is a decree absolute, the husband could transfer all of the shares to a new wife, without board approval, and unravelling that would be very, very difficult.”

However, her husband’s lawyers insisted the shares were not about to be sold. “My client is prohibited from dealing in these shares by an injunction,” said Martin Pointer QC. “When the company has sufficiently grown to satisfy the investors, they will decide to sell and the husband and the wife will benefit.”

For the Telegraph’s full report see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/divorce/9386775/Senior-judge-li...

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