A New Divorce Capital?

In recent times London has been dubbed the divorce capital for it’s seemingly generous provision for wives and ongoing financial provision following a divorce. Is this about to change following the Judgment in Hong Kong’s highest court last week.

The Court of Final Appeal has left a number of wealthy individuals anxiously checking the stability of their marriages as the major financial centre is set to become the divorce capital of Asia. The legal change brings the settlement more in line with the current rulings in the UK where in most cases the assets are divided equally between the parties.

The Courts ruling to protect the financially weaker spouse is expected to generate a number of “jackpot” marriage splits as the wives rely upon the ruling to create their own financial independence which has perhaps been controlled until now by their wealthy husbands.

There are initial fears that the change in the law could cause some business empires to be broken up to meet the divorce payouts. The Courts will have to delve deeper into the individuals financial positions and will need to shine a light into the notoriously murky world of business ownership in Hong Kong.

The ruling which concluded a seven-year divorce trial is expected to make Hong Kong a destination for the “divorce tourist” who seeks the most favourable jurisdiction for his or her claims. It is anticipated that many Asians will exploit business links to the territory to petition for divorce under this ruling.

Opportunities will arise for lawyers who will now be advising the super rich of Hong Kong to enter into pre nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements so as to protect their clients against potential claims. Given that Hong Kong has followed in some aspects rulings from the UK courts the recent Radmacher case where it was held that pre nuptial agreements could be enforceable may further enhance the requirement for the Hong Kong citizens.

UK expats based in Hong Kong have often sought to have their cases heard in the UK for the certainty that the UK jurisdiction provides, there may now be another choice.

If in any doubt as to jurisdiction or position re pre nuptial agreements then please email me marksage22@live.com

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