Celebrity Divorce Settlement

Laura Savage, Rogers and Norton

The media has been awash recently with reports on the recent financial settlement between Ant McPartlin (I’m a Celebrity) and his estranged wife, Lisa Armstrong.

The couple’s separation in 2018 following an 11 year marriage and their subsequent divorce, has been hugely publicised and culminated with reports last week that the couple were able to reach a financial agreement. It is said Ms Armstrong is to receive £31 million, from the share of the matrimonial assets of approximately £50 million, which includes the couples’ £5 million former matrimonial home in West London.

It is also said the couple have agreed to share the care of their dog Hurley who will spend time with each of them.

Many reports in the press have focused on the unequal division of the matrimonial assets. Whilst we are unable to comment specifically on how the financial agreement was reached between Mr McPartlin and Ms Armstrong, the starting point for long marriages such as theirs is an equal division of all assets including those held in sole and joint names.

In certain circumstances there may be a justifiable reason to depart from equality due to the needs of one of the parties. Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out the criteria to be considered when reaching any financial settlement following a separation, which include: the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parties; the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the parties; the standard of living of the family before the breakdown; the age of the parties and duration of the marriage; any physical or mental disability of either party; the contributions the parties has made or is likely to make in the future and the conduct of the parties. The paramount consideration of the Court when considering any financial agreement reached by separating parties is the welfare of any children.

Mr McPartlin and Ms Armstrong were able to reach a financial agreement outside of the Family Court. There are many ways in which separating couples can reach an agreement on how to separate the matrimonial assets, either by coming to an agreement between themselves; negotiations through solicitors; attending mediation with a family trained mediator; by entering into the collaborative process which involves the parties giving absolute commitment to avoid Court proceedings and as a last resort asking the Court to determine how the financial assets should be separated between the parties.

Our experienced Family Team have dealt with cases where one spouse receives a larger capital settlement to offset the loss of the other spouses’ earning potential. In Mr McPartlin and Ms Armstrong’s case, Ms Armstrong worked as a make-up artist and Mr McPartlin was a TV presenter earning a considerable salary. It is quite possible Ms Armstrong’s need for income has been factored into the capital sum she has been awarded as has been the case in a number of our previous cases.

The Family Law team appreciate that the breakdown of any family relationship is always very stressful and difficult. Every family is different and needs help and support tailored specifically for them. The team focus on providing advice that is sensitive, practical and affordable. The aim is to keep ill feeling and conflict to a minimum and reach a constructive, positive settlement.

If you are separating from your partner and wish to discuss formalising your separation by way of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, or you would like further advice on resolving the financial issues arising as a result of your separation please do not hesitate to contact our Family Team.

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