SingaporeA house husband has been given permission to divorce his millionaire wife in the English courts

Mr Choy filed for divorce in the English courts, however, his wife wanted the matter to be dealt with in Hong Kong. She launched an appeal to block the divorce from proceeding in the English courts. This week the Court of Appeal ruled against her and in her husband’s favour.

The wealthy banker and her house husband are now warming up for divorce battle estimated to be worth over £11 million that will take place here in London.

Ms Tan and Mr Choy own properties in Hong Kong, Malaysia and London, including a luxury apartment in Kensington worth over £4.5 million. Among the couples other assets is a vintage wine collection valued at over £1 million. Both of the couples’ two sons were educated at prestigious English boarding schools.

The couple encountered marriage difficulties in 2011, and in January 2012 Mr Choy decided to divorce his wife after a New Year’s Eve row while on holiday in Singapore.

Ms Tan appealed against an earlier decision of a High Court family judge who ruled in March 2013 that Mr Choy was “habitually resident” in the UK because he lived in London for at least a year before he filed for divorce. As such he was found to be entitled to bring divorce proceedings in the UK.

 The Court of Appeal have upheld this decision and ruled in favour of Mr Choy. He will now be able to proceed with the divorce in the English courts.

Mr Choy’s barrister, Tom Bishop QC, argued that it was clear that the husband had been habitually resident in London and as such the divorce could go ahead.

“When the centre of the husband’s interest ceased to be Hong Kong as his connection with Hong Kong broke down upon the end of his marriage, London was the natural and obvious replacement,” he said.

“The judge found that they had an international marriage which, from 1998, involved them moving around the world following the wife’s work.”

“They owned property, they had homes in a number of countries – England, Singapore and Malaysia…but the jewel in the crown of their assets was the South Kensington apartment, worth £4-£4.75m, never mortgaged, never let out,” he added.

“After the marriage broke down…the husband’s centre of interests ceased to be dictated by the wife’s working life.”

“London was capable of swiftly becoming the husband’s permanent centre of interests after the breakdown of the marriage,”

The Court of Appeal has now ruled in Mr Choy’s favour. Lady Justice Macur said London had been the husband’s “permanent and stable” home for the 12 months before he filed, making the English courts the “appropriate forum” for the couple’s divorce proceedings.

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