Billionaire claims ‘wife’ not entitled to anything as they were not married

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A billionaire property developer whose business owns a number of prestigious properties in London’s West End, including the Trocadero, is seeking to protect his £1.1 billion fortune, by claiming in the High Court that he was never married to his ‘wife’ of 14 years.

Tagilde Aziz maintains that she married Asif Aziz in a Muslim ceremony of marriage in Malawi, in 2002. Unopposed divorce proceedings took place last year, and a decree nisi was pronounced in November. However, Mr Aziz is now seeking to have the decree rescinded, claiming that no marriage ceremony ever took place and that the parties’ marriage certificate was a fake, obtained by them to get a UK passport for a child they had informally adopted.

Mrs Aziz is seeking to rely upon the ‘presumption of marriage’. This states that where there is evidence of a ceremony of marriage having been gone through, followed by the cohabitation of the parties, the validity of the marriage will be presumed, in the absence of decisive evidence to the contrary. She says that the parties presented to the world as married for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation, and that Mr Aziz is only claiming that they were not married in order to defeat her financial claims.

The case is being heard by Mr Justice Moor. Family Law Cafe look forward with interest to hearing his decision.

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Image: Trocadero, by Mario Sánchez Prada, licensed under CC BY 2.0.