Dorothea Isobel Park v Jchn Mitchell Park And Another

CourtFamily Court (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date18 July 1977
Subject MatterMatrimonial Causes
Judgement NumberFCMC760/1975





ACTION NO. 760 OF 1975


BARBARA TUNNE 2nd Respondent


Coram: Mr. Registrar Stapp in Chambers.

Date of Judgment: 18th July 1977.

Miss J. Leong (Helen A. Lo & Co.) for Petitioner.

Mr. R. Mills-Owens (Johnson, Stokes & Master) for 1st Respondent.




1. The petitioner-wife (hereinafter called "the wife") and the 1st respondent-husband (hereinafter called "the husband") were married on 5th March, 1960. The husband, a medical practitioner, was then aged 35 and had been married once previously. The wife, an education officer, was then aged 41 and had not been previously married. They have one daughter, Dorothy Ilia Park, born 10th December, 1960.

2. In 1959, prior to the marriage, the intended matrimonial home at 28 Lugard Road, The Peak, was purchased in the husband's name. After the marriage, the wife continued working for the Hong Kong Government as Head-mistress of the Peak Government Junior English School, until she resigned in 1962, in order to care of her husband and child and to look after the home.

3. At the beginning of 1973, the husband left the matrimonial home and has since been cohabiting with the 2nd respondent, whom he proposes to marry, and apparently they hope to have a family. As a result, the marriage was dissolved in January, 1976.

4. The wife and daughter have continued living in the matrimonial home, although the daughter has been attending boarding school in England since September, 1976, and since then has only lived in the home whilst on holidays.

5. As usual, the matrimonial home is the most important capital asset. It was purchased for $100,000, of which $40,000 was then paid by the husband, and the balance of $60,000 was advanced by the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank Ltd., on mortgage to the husband. The wife contributed $11,580 towards that sum of $40,000. As a result of soaring real estate values, valuations now indicate that it is probably worth in excess of $2 million. It has been agreed by the husband and wife that the home be sold. If the highest bid is less than $2 million, the husband shall have the option of retention upon paying the wife her proportion of such bid. It remains for the Court to decide what proportion of the proceeds of the proposed sale or figure for exercise of option is due to the wife, as a lump sum payment under S.4(1)(c) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (Cap. 192) to consider the other assets, and to order periodical payments for the wife and daughter.

6. In Wachtel v. Wachtel [1973] 1 All E.R. 829 commencing at the foot of 839 Lord Denning M.R., in delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal, stated, inter alia: "If we were only concerned with the capital assets of the family, and particularly with the matrimonial home, it would be tempting to divide them half and half, as the judge did. That would be fair enough if the wife afterwards went her own way, making no further demands on the husband. It would be simply a division of the assets of the partnership. That may come in the future. But at present few wives are content with a share of the capital assets. Most wives want their former husband to make periodical payments as well to support them; because, after the divorce, he will be earning far more than she; and she can only keep up her standard of living with his help. He also has to make payments for the children out of his earnings, even if they are with her. In view of these calls on his future earnings, even if they are with her. In view of these call on his future earnings, we do not think she can have both - half the capital assets; and half the earnings." Later he stated...

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