Lawyer Welcomes Hong Kong Court’s Divorce Decision

Ruling Backs Equal Assets Split

15.11.2010

A leading divorce lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has welcomed a court decision in Hong Kong which has called for couples to split assets equally while going through the separation process.

Peter Morris of the firm’s Family Law team said the move could have a significant impact on those involved in more high-value divorce cases.

The Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong upheld a lower judgement from 2008 which ruled that a non-working 47-year-old woman was entitled to half of her ex-husband’s assets. A ruling in 2006 had previously stated she was only allowed access to a third.

Discussing the issue, Peter Morris said: “The decision of the Hong Kong divorce court brings the treatment of spouses in financial cases broadly into line with the English jurisdiction. Another similarity is that not every case would call for a strict 50/50 split of a couple's assets, with the marriage's duration a key factor.

“It is interesting to note that it has taken Hong Kong 10 years to move away from an approach which the English Court regarded as discriminatory in the landmark case of White v White in 2000.

“There are now many similarities between the English and Hong Kong jurisdictions in their potential treatment of high value cases which may mean there is less scope for couples to engage in ‘forum shopping’ in the hope of obtaining a more favourable outcome.”