It has recently been reported that Tricia Ronane, who was the manager of the band The Clash for 20 years and was married to their bass player Paul Simonon for 18 years, had applied to the court to sell her share of a business owned jointly with her now former husband.
They were divorced in 2008. As part of the divorce settlement reached in 2010 between them there was an order that they would continue to equally share royalties from the band through a business they would own 50% each of.
Miss Ronane was wishing to sell her shareholding for £5,000,000. She complained of a very difficult business relationship that had become untenable to her. She didn’t want to be stuck in that position forever and wanted out of the business. Her former husband objected to the sale proceeding. He argued it would result in him having a new business partner effectively forced upon him. Crucially, he raised with the court that the divorce settlement included a clause forbidding either party from selling their shareholding.
In light of that clause the court refused Miss Ronane’s application, saying that a transfer of the shares would be inconsistent with the order that had previously been made.
When considering a settlement, a court should consider if it is desirable to maintain financial links between former spouses or whether it is more appropriate to achieve a clean break. Clearly the royalties provided a very considerable income and consequently had a significant capital value. Whatever the reasons for the decision to continue to share that income in the way that was ordered, it has left the divorced couple with a financial tie one of them no longer desires.
In reaching a settlement where a clean break either cannot or is not wanted, careful consideration has to be given to potential future disputes or changes in circumstances that might impact on what was intended. No-one has a crystal ball so not all eventualities can be covered. If you need assistance with agreeing or implementing the terms of a financial settlement then our team of experienced family lawyers can help.
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