The ‘reasonable needs’ of the ultra-rich
Date posted: 8 June 2022
This case involved wealthy parties who were involved in expensive financial remedy proceedings regarding whether the wife should be held to a US executed pre-nuptial agreement (2012) which had been varied by a post-nuptial agreement (2014). The husband (62) was a successful property entrepreneur, and the wife, a journalist (46) had not worked since early in the relationship. She lived in the large family home (£30.2m) in London with the 2 children (6 & 13).
The wife applied for maintenance pending suit for £350,000 per month (1.56m per annum). The husband’s position was at the other end of the spectrum, he proposed £31,000 per month (£372,000 per annum). The parties agreed that the husband would cover the overheads each year on the properties in London, Antibes and Miami, which equated to over £2.7 million.
The wife had outstanding legal fees of £363,737 for both financial and children proceedings, unpaid by the husband, who had promised to pay them.
Mostyn J awarded the wife interim maintenance of £71,300 pcm (£855,600 pa) and ordered the husband to pay her legal fees. The only criterion for determining MPS is reasonableness/fairness, and a big factor in determining fairness is the standard of living during the marriage. This will be fact specific in each case. The Judge looked at the wife’s reasonable needs, but according to the standards of the ultra-rich, not restricting this to what may be reasonable to those with lesser wealth.
He applied the case of Rattan v Kuwad  where Moylan LJ said ‘Given the sums at stake in high wealth cases, the court should try to paint its decision with a fine sable brush rather than a broad brush..’
The interim award for the husband to meet the property outgoings and pay MPS, would equate to an annual rate of £3.64m. To give some context the husband’s assets were valued at £1.2 billion.
All other issues relating to whether the nuptial agreements will be upheld remain to be resolved during private ADR proceedings.
We specialise in providing advice and representation in Financial order proceedings, and the preparation of nuptial agreements. Please contact our Patricia Beckett at email@example.com for more details, or to arrange for an appointment, please call Mavis on 020 8885 7986