Divorce assets ruling 'significant'

Yasmin PrestA Supreme Court ruling on a divorce cash fight between an oil tycoon and his estranged wife could have significant implications for couples whose marriages fail, lawyers have said.

Yasmin Prest had claimed she was entitled to more than Michael Prest was offering.

She said she should get properties which were assets of companies Mr Prest controlled.

And the Supreme Court - the highest court in the UK - ruled in her favour at a hearing in London on Wednesday.

Supreme Court justices said a number of disputed properties were "held" by Mr Prest's companies but were assets to which he was legally "entitled".

They said in divorce litigation a court could transfer property to a spouse if the other spouse was "entitled" to it.

And they ruled that properties at the centre of the Prest dispute should be transferred to Mrs Prest.

Mrs Prest said after the hearing that she was "delighted and relieved".

One Supreme Court justice, Lord Sumption, said it was not possible to give "general guidance". He said the question of whether assets legally vested in a company were "beneficially owned by its controller" was "fact-specific".

But Mrs Prest's lawyers said the Supreme Court decision was a "great result" for others in similar positions, would stop husbands hiding behind a "corporate facade" and was realistic and fair.

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