Father And Son In Battle Over £5m Divorce Settlement

Expert Comments On Case Complexity


A father and son have gone to court over a £5.1 million divorce settlement, with the former claiming he deserves a larger share.

Businessman Eric Richardson is keen to gain access to the settlement, which was inherited by his son Fraser after the death of his ex-wife Harriet, as he faces a damages claim after a child fell from one of his buildings.

Insurers are apparently suggesting they will not indemnify him, but Mr Richardson’s legal team has stated that any damages should be a joint liability as the accident took place when his wife was still his business partner.

Commenting on the complex case, Alison Fernandes, an associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This unfortunate case is a clear warning as to how unexpected circumstances can turn a fair settlement into what appears on the face of it to be a very unfair outcome and the risks of giving an indemnity.

“Mr Richardson gave an indemnity to his late wife, agreeing he would take responsibility for any liabilities of the business in return for the wife transferring her shares to him. This is common in cases involving family businesses but taking control of a business on divorce has its risks and advantages.

“In this case the risk has taken the upper hand and will potentially leave the husband in a far worse situation than envisaged at the time the assets were divided.

“We will just have to wait and see whether the Court of Appeal decides to come to the aid of the husband or whether they will say it was part of the risk of giving an indemnity.”