Pre-marital Gifts

YKYM v WMCT and YHSC FCMC 15997/2011 HHJ Bruno Chan 22nd February2013

Determination of a preliminary issue over the beneficial ownership of the parties’ former matrimonial home in London before proceeding to a FDR hearing of the Petitioner Wife’s ancillary relief application, The property was registered in the Respondent Husband’s sole name but was all paid for by his mother – the Intervener who claims to be the sole beneficial owner. The Wife’s case was that it was the Mother’s wedding gift to her and the Husband who is holding her half share on trust for her. The issue is therefore one of fact turning on the intention of the Mother at the time of the purchase, to be decided in the same way as it would be in the Chancery Division instead of as a matter of discretion as normally in ancillary relief applications.

Held – Husband’s mother purchased the London Property for herself and the family’s use and not as wedding gift for the parties and forms no part of the matrimonial assets.

See also Lee Tso Fong v Kwok Wai Sun [2008] 4 HKLRD 270 and Lee See Bui Freddy v Choy Kim Pong Lewis and others HCMP 1239/2008, 3 September 2009)