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Financial Dispute Jargon Busters - Stellar Who is She Anyway?


You may have heard the term Stellar Contribution if you are a particularly high earner or married to one but what does it mean?

The concept of Stellar contributions was developed following a case in 2001 (Cowan v Cowan (2001) EWCA Civ 679) as it recognised the "product of genius" with which only one of the spouses may be endowed and therefore may justify a departure from equality.

However, the court of appeal in a case in 2002 stated it was only relevant in exceptional cases.

What constitutes an exceptional case is a long and complex legal point. Sir Mark Potter in the Court of Appeal in 2007 set out some guiding principles.

It could in theory, potentially be claimed where wealth, generated by one spouse was so significant, it would be relatively easy for the party who generated it to claim an exceptional contribution. A windfall by contrast could not be said to be an exceptional contribution.

The above is just intended to give a general understanding of term, it is not legal advice or intended to be acted upon.


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