How far is the Special Contribution argument recognised by the courts?
Family practitioners need to be familiar with the position as to distribution of the family assets via financial orders (previously referred to as ancillary relief) when a person is claiming a ‘Special Contribution’.
Originating from the case of Cowan v Cowan , the ‘Special Contribution’ argument, if proved, entitles one spouse a larger proportion of assets upon divorce in recognition of a ‘special skill’ or ‘genius’ on their part, without which there would have been no accruing of wealth.
This is a significant deviation from the principles established in the earlier case of White v White  which determined that there should be no recognisable distinction between spouses who perform different roles i.e. breadwinner and home-maker within their marital partnership.
During this bite-size session, consideration will be given to the case of Charman v Charman  which established that any departure from equality must be of a “wholly exceptional nature”.
Safda Mahmood will use the cases of Robertson v. Robertson  and Work v Gray  to examine how far the ‘Special Contribution’ argument is recognised and the impact that this has on the distribution of assets in practice.
Finally, Safda will explore what is meant by the rather unhelpful term ‘genius’ and the way in which the court must examine both at the nature of the contribution and to determine whether it derives from an exceptional and individual quality.
Cases involving the ‘Special Contribution’ argument are complex in nature and can be quite controversial; this course is essential viewing for family law practitioners who handle such matters as it will ensure that you are aware of the issues involved in such cases and are familiar with recent case law in this area.
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