City Trader “Must I share my bonus for ever?”


This particular case study may be of interest to you if you are a city trader or the spouse of a city trader.


The husband (H) in this case is an Oil Broker aged 48 years; his wife (W) is aged 50 and is currently not working but training to be a therapist. There are four children of the family, 2 at university and twins aged 10.

The parties had been married for over 15 years.  H’s net income, including bonuses, amounted to £286k (£138k net excluding bonuses) in the latest financial year; past years over £500k net. The assets schedule was agreed at £1.95m plus pensions of c.£500k.

W proposed a 71% split in her favour, on a deferred basis, even though this would deprive H of his capital for many years, leaving him needing a substantial mortgage. She also sought maintenance of £138k per annum fixed, being the equivalent of all of H’s basic net income, for life. i.e. a guaranteed minimum payment in respect of H’s non-guaranteed bonuses.

Rebecca managed to negotiate for H that W would receive just over 50% of the capital, divided now and maintenance including child support of £68k net per annum plus 20% of H’s bonus capped at £24k until the youngest child reached 21 as opposed to a life time maintenance order for W.

The treatment of bonuses will be of interest to those working in the city or wives of city traders, Rebecca’s argument that to the extent that the maintenance order cannot fairly be met from the husband’s basic income, the structure of the order must reflect the structure of the husband’s income, and that part that is referable to bonus will be subject to a cap.

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