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Judges to ponder 'genius' in row over divorce cash split

Published 20/01/2016

Randy Work is trying to overturn the High Court judge's ruling
Randy Work is trying to overturn the High Court judge's ruling

Senior judges are set to analyse the nature of genius after a multi-millionaire American financier complained that he was not left with a fair cash share following a divorce battle with his unfaithful wife because his "special contribution" to their fortune had not been recognised.

A High Court judge had decided that 48-year-old Randy Work's contributions to wealth creation had not been "wholly exceptional" - after considering whether they possessed the "quality of genius".

Mr Justice Holman had concluded, after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London, that Mr Work's estranged wife Mandy Gray, 46, should get half of a fortune totalling more than £140 million.

But Mr Work, who says his share should be nearer two-thirds, has been given the go-ahead to take his case to the Court of Appeal after his lawyers complained that Mr Justice Holman had been wrong not to give credit for a special contribution.

Barrister Nicholas Cusworth QC, who leads Mr Work's legal team, argued that judges had differing views on what constitutes a "special contribution" to marital wealth.

And an appeal court judge has decided that Mr Work has a chance of over-turning Mr Justice Holman's ruling and should get the opportunity to make his case at a full Court of Appeal hearing.

Lady Justice King gave Mr Work permission to appeal on Wednesday but no date has yet been fixed for a full hearing.

Mr Justice Holman had said, in a ruling in March 2015, that he had to consider the "specialness" required before concluding that a contribution to marital wealth was "special".

He said some judges had referred to a "special contribution" possessing the "quality of genius" in earlier rulings.

But he said genius tended to be an over-used word and should be "properly reserved" for the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart and Einstein.

Mr Work and Ms Gray had been "two strong and equal partners" over 20 years. He said Ms Gray had been a "good wife" and "home-maker". He suggested that without her contribution Mr Work, who worked for a Dallas-based private equity firm called Lone Star, would not have been able to "amass the wealth".

Mr Justice Holman had heard that the couple split after Ms Gray had an affair with their "personal physiotherapist". He said they had spent nearly £3 million on lawyers during a "Titanic battle" over the division of money.

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