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Divorce Settlements and High Net Worth: Businessman Wins Right to Keep His £20m Vintage Cars

Divorce Settlements and High Net Worth: Businessman Wins Right to Keep His £20m Vintage Cars

High networth and dividing assets in a divorce

A businessman has won the right to prevent his wife from claiming a £20 million collection of vintage cars as part of their divorce settlement. Clive Joy-Morancho, 56, and Nichola Joy, 48, have been fighting over money in London’s High Court following the breakdown of their five-year marriage.

Collection of 35 cars, including a Ferrari worth more than £5m

Clive Joy-Morancho, 56, and Nichola Joy, 48, have been engaged in acrimonious divorce proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, with Ms Joy claiming that the businessman’s collection of expensive vintage cars should be transferred to her as part of the settlement.

During their five-year marriage, the couple had lived on the Caribbean island of Bequia and in a chateau in the south of France, with three small children. However, Ms Joy commenced divorce proceedings after making domestic violence allegations. She argued that her estranged husband was worth £54 million, and she was seeking a lump sum of £27 million, to represent her half of the “pot”. In order to obtain her share, Ms Joy argued that an expensive collection of cars, which she said were personally owned by Mr Joy-Morancho, should be transferred to her. The collection, understood to be worth £20 million, includes a 1928 Bentley racer and a Ferrari valued at than £5 million.

However, Mr Joy-Morancho told the court that he was facing “financial ruin”, as he argued that Ms Joy should get “nominal” maintenance only. He said the majority of cars were owned not by him personally but by a company with which he had links and therefore could not, and should not, be transferred to his wife.

Was Mr Joy-Morancho’s “plight” “genuine or a contrived facade”?

Hearing the case, Sir Peter Singer analysed the arguments before publishing his reserved judgment. He acknowledged the “extreme disagreement” between the couple as to the extent of Mr Joy-Morancho’s assets and how much Ms Joy should receive as a result of the marriage breakdown. He said his decision would centre on whether Mr Joy-Morancho’s “plight” was “genuine or a contrived facade”.

Originally, during 2014 proceedings, an order “restraining” Mr Joy-Morancho from “disposing of or dealing with” a 1928 Bentley racer, which he had bought in 2009 for nearly £400,000, was made. However, Sir Peter said this car was no longer being considered as part of the collection upon which he was now deciding. He indicated that he was considering the ownership of a Ferrari, bought for about £5.5 million three years ago, and an Alfa Romeo. Additionally, he said two “particularly rare and exceptional vehicles” were a McLaren F1 and a McLaren P1, which were under consideration.

Sir Peter went on to dismiss Ms Joy’s application. He found that the “substance” of the couple’s wealth derived from Mr Joy-Morancho’s “business activities”, with the cars held not to be owned by Mr Joy-Morancho personally.

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