May Divorce Be With You « McAlister Family Law


May Divorce Be With You

Melissa Jones


Ewan McGregor, and his ex-wife, Eve Mavrakis, have reached a divorce settlement: she is entitled to half of his Star Wars royalties, as well as other earned income from films and TV work in which he was involved whilst they were together.

How was such a decision reached? Melissa Jones, Associate, explains.

What’s the difference between marital assets and non-marital assets?

Marital Assets

These may include assets acquired during a marriage such as:

  • the family home
  • pensions
  • other financial assets such as savings and investments

 Non-Marital Assets

These may include assets acquired before or after a marriage such as:

  • gifts
  • inheritance
  • income or investments

Will I be forced to share my marital and non-marital assets?

In England and Wales, the court has the power to divide both marital and non-marital assets and the percentage of that division is based, and determined entirely, upon a spouse’s financial needs. Key to this decision is that there is no hard fast and rule on this as the court has discretion to divide the assets as it sees fit. 

Depending on the circumstances, marital assets may not always be divided equally, especially if an equal division does not the meet the needs of the parties and any children they have.  

The settlement of Ewan and Eve took place in the US, but what would be the case if it took in England and Wales? The court could also consider dividing significant matrimonial assets, even though they may have been generated solely by one party, in order to give the other party a share of this. 

Even with non-marital assets the court might look at awarding a percentage of this to a spouse who may have been financially disadvantaged, for example because they had to give up their successful career to look after the children. The court may look to do this if the marital assets do not appear to provide adequately for a spouse or the children of the marriage. Of course you might succeed in stopping this if the marital assets can in any case adequately cover the needs of the parties and the children.

Will I have to pay Spousal Maintenance to my ex-spouse?

As part of the settlement, Ewan McGregor has also agreed to pay $35,868 a month in spousal support to his ex-wife.

This is not uncommon. Some parties can reach an agreement whereby they split their assets and are no longer financially tied to the other. However, with other couples, if the assets are inadequate, the only way to achieve a “clean break” might be for one party to pay ongoing maintenance to the other.

The duration of the spousal maintenance is not clear for Ewan and Eve, but in England and Wales the court might set a fixed timeframe for spousal maintenance, so as to enable the receiving spouse to become financially independent. 


If you need to discuss your assets and are considering a divorce, please do get in touch with us today, so that we can help you.

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