Map (Petitioner) v Mfp

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtFamily Division
JudgeMr Justice Moor
Judgment Date10 Mar 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] EWHC 627 (Fam)
Docket NumberCase No: FD13D02888

[2015] EWHC 627 (Fam)


Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL


Mr Justice Moor

Case No: FD13D02888


Mr Christopher Pocock QC and Ms Katherine Kelsey for the Petitioner

Mr Brent Molyneux for the Respondent

Hearing dates: 9th to 13th February 2015


I have been hearing an application for financial remedies brought by the Petitioner, MAP (hereafter "the Wife") following the breakdown of her marriage to the Respondent, MFP (hereafter "the Husband").


The Husband is aged 6. He left school with no academic qualifications at the age of fifteen. He commenced a four year apprenticeship as a property maintenance engineer. Property maintenance has clearly always been his passion. He has undoubtedly been extremely successful. He is the Managing Director of a property maintenance company (hereafter "the company") and owns 95% of the shares of the company.


The Wife will soon be 61. She was the Company Secretary and Finance Control Manager of the company. She owns the remaining 5% of the shares.


The parties were childhood sweethearts. They married in 1972. They separated some forty years later in May 2012. This was therefore a very long marriage by any standards. It is agreed that the entirety of the very considerable financial resources were earned during the marriage.


The Wife issued her divorce petition and her Form A on 11th June 2013. A decree nisi was pronounced on 17th December 2013. It has not as yet been made absolute.


The Wife has remained living in the former matrimonial home in Kent. This is a substantial property in a gated community with an agreed valuation of £2.3 million. It is mortgage free.


Since the Husband vacated, he has been living in rented accommodation in London.

The children


There are four adult children of the marriage, C, D, E and F. C is the Operations Director of the company.


D now runs a shop which supplies property maintenance equipment. He holds 99% of the shares in the new company and the Husband has 1%. I am told that the Husband provided £500,000 of working capital to establish the business. I need not consider this business further as I am satisfied it is not part of the matrimonial assets.


E previously worked in the accounts department of the company. Her husband is a maintenance engineer for the company. She was caught up in the difficulties that occurred in March 2014 but has now obtained alternative employment.


F used to work for the company as well, in the call centre taking bookings. Her partner is also a maintenance engineer for the company.


There are a number of grandchildren. Two are apprentice maintenance engineers and a fifteen year old granddaughter works part-time in the call centre.

The history of the company


The property maintenance business commenced in the 1970s from the then family home with the Husband doing the maintenance work and the Wife taking the bookings. The first premises were taken in around 1979 in a basement in a property in London. This business formed the company.


In 1993, the company was incorporated and whilst it subsequently changed its name, it remained privately owned by the Husband and the Wife. In due course, a property was purchased as the business premises. The building, which is owned by the company, is valued at £4.5 million. At present, it is mortgage free. Indeed, the business does not have any debt at all.


The business has undoubtedly gone from strength to strength notwithstanding the recession, the difficulties in the marriage and the Husband's undoubted personal "demons" which I will return to in due course. Annual turnover was £15.3 million in the year to 31st May 2010. It has increased year on year to £19.5 million for the year ending 31st May 2014. I am told that it is likely to be around £24 million this year. In 2014, the gross profit was £7.1 million and the net profit, after tax, £1.3 million.


The Wife has also worked hard for the business. There has been a rather unedifying dispute between them as to her exact role which I consider totally irrelevant to the issue I have to decide. There is absolutely no doubt that I should treat their contributions to this marriage as equal. The Husband was the driving force behind the business. The Wife performed the role of homemaker and child-carer as well as working for the company. It is a tribute to both of them that they have achieved so much, having started with so little.

The Husband's demons


In approximately 2007, the Wife became aware that the Husband was using the Class A drug, cocaine. He has also abused alcohol. He accepts he satisfies the test for addiction to cocaine but denies it in relation to alcohol. The root cause may be depression but there is no doubt that the effect has been disastrous both for his health and for the state of his otherwise entirely happy marriage.


He has regularly attended residential inpatient rehabilitation at very considerable cost. This has been at both Nova Vide in Portugal and at The AB Retreat in the USA. He has spent approximately £230,000 on such treatments. Regrettably, the treatments have not provided a lasting cure and he has regularly relapsed on his return to this country.


The Wife's case is that he has been spending up to £6,000 per week on his drug and alcohol habit. She also alleges that he has spent large sums of money on prostitution.


On 8th March 2014, the Husband was admitted again to The AB Retreat. He returned to this country following his discharge on 13th April 2014. It is clear that his treating physician did not want to discharge him. She said:-

" [MFP] was admitted to The AB Retreat…following an emotional decompensation and suicidal inclinations and severe relapse with cocaine. His immediate referral to residential/inpatient treatment was an emergency and life threatening. [MFP] had begun to experience delusional and severe paranoid behaviours that when combined with (h)is cocaine relapse and major depressive disorder created a scenario that necessitated the residential/inpatient level of care. [MFP] believes that he has been followed, photographed and that his home has been fitted with microphones that will provide information that will somehow be used against him. [MFP] has verbalised a threat to his own life, but indicates that he is ambivalent regarding following through with this."


A further report from The AB Retreat dated 24th April 2014 said:-

"[MFP] entered treatment in a profoundly depressed state and consumed by the consequences of his behaviour both upon his family, business and reputation. [MFP] was compliant in his participation throughout treatment, but struggled to accept clinical recommendations regarding length of stay and involvement of his family members in his treatment. The treatment team recommended that [MFP] remain in treatment for a minimum of 60 days and involve his family members in his treatment. [MFP] has failed to follow treatment recommendations during his previous treatment episodes. Throughout treatment, [MFP] was focussed on developing a checklist that displayed for him the necessary daily activities that will support his sobriety. He was able to accomplish this task during his time. [MFP] was compliant with his medications. He also reported increased willingness to participate in 12 step meetings after his discharge as well. [MFP]'s prognosis is poor due to his failure to address the issues underlying his addiction and engage with his family to begin addressing the tremendous stress that this plays in his life. [MFP] will benefit from engaging in a strong clinically appropriate aftercare plan (12 step meetings, psychotherapy, psychiatric support)".


It was clear that he discharged himself from The AB Retreat after his initial month's treatment was complete, despite The AB Retreat advising him to remain for 60 days. When first asked about this, he took the view The AB Retreat was only interested in making money out of him. Later, when asked again, he suggested he was missing home. He undoubtedly minimised the consequences of his behaviour on his family. He did eventually, rather grudgingly, concede that his addiction had "badly affected his family" but there did not seem to be much remorse.


I do not have an up to date medical report. I found it difficult to assess exactly how much of a problem his addiction remains. He has not remained "clean" since his return from Utah. He told me he takes cocaine occasionally and that the last time was approximately three weeks ago or, on another account, before Christmas. It may be that he is a "binge" taker of the drug which, as a layman, would seem to me to have numerous dangers. Overall, this is clearly a real worry for his long term health. I really hope he will be able to stop entirely, particularly once this litigation is over this afternoon. If not, I fear for his life.

The Wife's suspension and subsequent dismissal


Whilst the Husband was away, the Wife continued to go into work. It appears that she discovered the Husband's activities with prostitutes on the evening of 14th March 2014. She was understandably very upset. There is a dispute as to what occurred thereafter. I have already indicated that I do not need or intend to resolve it. Suffice it to say that the Wife, D and E were told not to go to the premises on Monday 17th March. The Wife did stay away that day but when she went on Tuesday 18th March, she was denied entry. She was told she was suspended and disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against her on 25th March. She has not returned since.


As I have already indicated, the Husband resolved the problem with D by setting him up in business. Like the Wife, E has also not returned and now has found another job. The Wife says that she never received...

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7 cases
  • R v K
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Court
    • 4 September 2018
    ...indeed and only where dissipation is demonstrably wanton.” Most recently, Moor J in MAP v MFP (Financial Remedies: Addback) [2015] EWHC 627 (Fam), having summarised the authorities, added this qualification: “… a spouse cannot take advantage of all the good characteristics of his or her par......
  • JS v RS
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Division
    • 6 November 2015
    ...ack. No case approaching wanton dissipation of assets is made out. In a series of decisions of which the most recent is that of Moor J in MAP v MFP [2015] EWHC 627 (Fam) the restrictive and cautious approach adopted by the court he determined (albeit in a case involving far larger resources......
  • AP v ALP
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Division
    • 2 February 2018 his Russian businesses, most made long before the breakdown of the marriage, as wilful dissipation of assets. Applying MAP v MFP[2015] EWHC 627 (Fam), a wife had to take her husband as she found him. She could not take advantage of his entrepreneurial abilities to share in any projects t......
  • ABX v SBX
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Court
    • 31 July 2018
    ...referred to Calderbank v Calderbank [1976] Fam 93, [1975] 3 WLR 586, [1975] 3 All ER 333. MAP v MFP (financial remedies: add-back)[2015] EWHC 627 (Fam), [2016] 1 FLR Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane[2006] UKHL 24, [2006] 2 AC 618, [2006] 2 FCR 213, [2006] 2 WLR 1283, [2006] 3 All ER 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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