Ant McPartlin files for divorce... but has he got talent?
Ant McPartlin of Ant and Dec fame is getting divorced from his wife Lisa after an 11-year marriage. As one half of the nation’s favorite double act the news has unsurprisingly been a hot topic in the tabloids with speculation as to just how much his wife stands to receive as part of the settlement.
Claims are being made in the papers that Ant may seek to claim that he is a genius in order to depart from the established equal sharing principle in family law which provides as a starting point that there be a 50:50 split of assets. The knee-jerk reaction of many may be to scoff at the idea that a man who presents a TV Talent Show that was won by a dog is on a par with Einstein, Hawkins or the person who invented re-sealable packaging for cheese.
However, Ant may claim that he has made a stellar contribution to the marriage. If the Court finds that this is the case, then there would be a departure from the equal sharing principle as it would be unfair to ignore the stellar contribution. This situation is usually applied to cases involving geniuses as the factors that are considered to prove that a stellar contribution has been made, set a very high benchmark.
The Cooper-Hohn v Hohn case sets out the following factors which the Court may take into consideration when determining a stellar contribution:
- Can it properly be said that he is the generating force behind the fortune rather than the product itself?
- Does the scale of the wealth depend upon his innovative vision as well as on his ability to develop those visions?
- Has he generated truly vast wealth such that his business success can properly be viewed as exceptional?
- Does he have a special skill and effort which is special to him and which survives as a material consideration despite the partnership or pooling aspect of the marriage?
- Would it, in all the circumstances, be inequitable to disregard that contribution?
So, would Ant satisfy these conditions?
Well, it is unlikely that anything short of a truly exceptional ability would satisfy the requirements. Some may argue that being a TV presenter hardly qualifies as an exceptional ability, after all Ant and Dec are unlikely to win this year’s Nobel Prize for cultural advances (although someone should really start a crowd funding page to make that happen). On the other hand however, the world of entertainment is notoriously fickle. To have had such a stable, enduring career in such an unstable environment, and to have maintained an enviable level of popularity throughout, I think a case could be made for Ant possessing a unique skill and effort which may very well constitute a stellar contribution.
So what do you think, is Ant McPartlin a genius?