Jones divorce legal view: Scots law prefers clean break concept

MR JONES may have been far better off if the case had been heard in Scotland. The courts in England look at what assets the parties own at the date of separation and are not so concerned about the concept of matrimonial property.

According to Scots law if a husband or wife owns a company at the time of marriage which they still own at the date of separation, then it is still their property when the marriage separates and the value of it does not need to be shared.

If the divorce hearing had been in a Scottish court the question of the husband's company being matrimonial property would not have come up.

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Although Mr Jones lives in Scotland it may be that the couple previously lived together in England - or that the wife now lives in England and brought the divorce. The rules are that either party can bring the divorce.

This case does raise an interesting point about a fundamental difference between English and Scots law.

English courts are also more concerned with future liabilities - with the support a former partner will need in the future - whereas a Scottish court will take a clean break approach. l Linda Walker is a senior solicitor at Tods Murray

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