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JL v SL

JL v SL was a case before Mr Justice Mostyn which focused on how the court was to treat inherited wealth in the context of divorce. In the case, the wife had received total inheritance from her mother of £465,000. A portion of this had been paid to the husband for cash-flow reasons and security should the wife pass away.

Mr Justice Mostyn reviewed the relevant authorities and set down new guidelines for how inherited assets should be treated in divorce cases. He held that:

“inherited wealth should be treated differently from the matrimonial property depending on:

  1. its source;
  2. its nature, particularly whether it is a particularly valuable or personal item;
  3. the duration of the marriage and for how long the wealth has been enjoyed by the parties, and the more and the longer it has been enjoyed, the less it should be ring fenced;
  4. the extent to which the non-matrimonial property has become mixed with matrimonial property, to the extent that identifying its separate current value is difficult; and
  5. if invested in the former matrimonial home, the extent to which this home has become treated as a central item of matrimonial property."

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