Divorce law – interesting case update

This recently reported case of VV v VV [2022] EWFC 41 is a great read – it also includes some very useful summaries, and a reminder of the law in relation to the division of assets on divorce when dealing with:

  • periods of cohabitation prior to marriage
  • long engagements
  • short marriages with no children
  • bad conduct and competing allegations; and
  • the failure of a party to disclose assets

It’s a cautionary tale too for those with an abusive and difficult partner, not to stoop to their level.

I am not aware of any reported case where the mere fact of engagement generated a sharing entitlement, regardless of cohabitation. In McCartney v Mills McCartney [2008] EWHC 401 Bennett J did not so find. And in Miller itself, where the parties did not cohabit but became engaged some time before marriage, there is no suggestion in the House of Lords judgment that their ratio decidendi took into account the period between engagement and marriage as giving rise to a sharing entitlement. On the contrary, Lord Nicholls expressly referred to the increase in the husband's wealth 'during the marriage' at para 71, and did not refer to any increase in value post-engagement.