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 Friday, 20 December, 2002, 13:53 GMT
Court reduces wife's pay-out
Court graphic
A businessman who took his former wife to court because he was awarded less than half their 2.5m marriage assets has won his battle for equality.

Pepe Parra argued that a High Court settlement gave his former wife Yvonne net liquid assets of more than 800,000 and a mortgage-free house.

But, he claimed, he was left facing 20 years of working to pay off debts of around 1m.

Three Court of Appeal judges reduced Mrs Parra's lump sum payment from 925,000 to 818,641 and ordered her to pay half the cost of their two children's private education.

'Massive borrowings'

The couple, both 44, married in 1980 and launched the family business, 2Heads Global Design Ltd in 1987.

They held equal shares in the company and in a four-acre site known as Star Works at Checkendon, near Oxford, from which they ran their business.

In a High Court ruling after their break-up, judge Mr Justice Charles gave 1,139,840 to the husband - in effect the business - and cash and property to the wife worth 1,352,559.

Jeremy Posnansky QC, representing Mr Parra, told the judges: "The husband has all the risks, no liquidity and massive borrowings, yet the wife still received 212,719 more than the husband."

Lord Justice Thorpe said in his ruling on Friday: "If there is a principle it should, I think, be this: that in comparable cases the division of assets for which the parties have themselves elected should not be adjusted by judges on the grounds of speculation as to what each may achieve in the years of independence that lie ahead."

He said if the husband could not raise the money to pay the lump sum, the business and land should be sold and divided equally.


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