Zimina v Zimin –second chance in overseas divorce?
In the recent case of Zimina v Zimin, the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court decision to award a Russian wife a lump sum of £1.14 million. The issue before the court was whether it was appropriate for a lump sum order to have been made where, following her divorce in Russia, the wife had already agreed to a substantial financial settlement. Despite this, further financial proceedings in the English courts under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 were pursued by her. Part III gives the court the power to make financial awards to those who have divorced in another country.
The decision of Lady Justice King appears to show that awards under Part III are inappropriate where one party has freely agreed to a settlement in another country, particularly where such settlements are deemed fair and provide for that party’s needs. It remains clear however that Part III remains an option for those who have not had adequate financial provision following an overseas divorce.