A stay-at-home husband who claims that he sacrificed his own career on the altar of his investment banker wife's ambition has triumphed in a crucial round of their £11 million divorce battle, after the Court of Appeal accepted that he was 'habitually resident' in England.
The couple lived an opulent lifestyle during their 15-year marriage, enjoying homes in Hong Kong and Malaysia, a £1 million wine collection and an unmortgaged £4.5 million apartment in Kensington. The husband had given up his own banking career to look after the couple's children whilst his wife achieved success as a hedge fund manager.
The husband petitioned to divorce his 'breadwinner' wife and an issue arose as to whether the case should be heard in England – where the courts were perceived as being more generous to ex-partners of rich spouses – or in Malaysia, where the wife was living and where she had launched parallel proceedings.
Dismissing the wife's appeal against an earlier decision that the case should be heard in England, the Court ruled that the husband had been habitually resident in this country for at least 12 months before seeking a divorce and therefore had the right to proceed with his case before an English judge.
The Court accepted the husband's plea that London had been his home base since 2010 and that he had been forming closer and closer ties with the city over a 20-year period. More than half of the couple's assets were in the UK and, after the marriage broke down, the husband's centre of interests had ceased to be dictated by the wife's working life.
The husband had established a sufficiently 'permanent and stable' residence in London to establish English jurisdiction and, although he was not gainfully employed, the wife's 'personal convenience' as the family breadwinner who lived and worked in Malaysia could not hold sway.