Recent press reports suggest that Ryan Giggs intends to argue in his divorce proceedings that he made a ‘special contribution’ during his marriage to Stacey: a factor that in rare circumstances justifies the court splitting a couple’s assets in favour of the party who has made the special contribution.
Whether it is skills on the pitch, success in making investments or generating substantial wealth through business, only a handful of individuals have been successful in arguing the special contribution point.
Recently, the courts accepted that billionaire hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn, was a ‘financial genius’ having generated wealth of ‘just under $1.5 billion’ and this, together with other factors, resulted in the court awarding him approximately 64% of the available assets. However, eye-watering sums alone are not enough to get past the line with a special contribution argument.
The court would need to be persuaded that the special contribution met the “standard of rarity” needed to justify a “discriminatory” split of the matrimonial pot. This week in the Family Court a Judge has suggested that special contribution should be ”confined to cases which are as rare as a white leopard”. So, the reality is that such an argument will rarely succeed.
Fans will no doubt have a strong opinion about his talents, but it remains to be seen whether Mr Giggs will be able to show that his skills on the pitch will score a special contribution in the eyes of the court.
AUTHOR: Kim Aucott
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