Screwfix millionaire faces having to hand ex-wife MORE of his fortune

Screwfix millionaire faces having to hand ex-wife MORE of his fortune after already giving her his £3.25m mansion and £10.4m in cash in long running divorce feud

  • This is the latest twist in a long-running row between the divorced couple
  • Mr and Mrs Goddard-Watts, both in their 50s, had reached an agreement in 2010
  • But since then there have been numerous further court actions over money 

A judge has been asked to decide whether a millionaire businessman – whose family founded the Screwfix chain – should hand over more money to his ex-wife.

Mr Justice Cohen is analysing the latest round of a long-running row between James Goddard-Watts and former wife Julia at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The judge is overseeing a private trial, which is due to end next month, and has placed limits on what can be reported.

Judges have been told Mr and Mrs Goddard-Watts, who are both in their 50s, reached an agreement in 2010 after the end of their 13-year marriage.

Mr Goddard-Watts agreed Mrs Goddard-Watts should get a house worth £3.25 million and a £4 million lump sum.

She subsequently complained Mr Goddard-Watts had not revealed the full extent of his wealth.

A judge then concluded Mr Goddard-Watts had ‘given a false presentation’ when making the 2010 agreement, and in 2016 the businessman was told to hand Mrs Goddard-Watts more than £6 million. 

James Goddard-Watts and his ex-wife Julia ended their 13-year marriage six years ago, but it has since been claimed that Mr Goddard-Watts did not reveal the full extent of his wealth

Another High Court judge had analysed the case in 2015 and given the go-ahead for a review.

Mr Justice Moor had criticised Mr Goddard-Watts, who moved to Switzerland in 2010.

He said the businessman had been ‘evasive and at times misleading’ and had ‘given a false presentation’ when making the 2010 agreement. 

During their marriage, Mr Goddard-Watts enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as well as becoming a keen racing driver, competing in a British GT championship at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium in 1999. 

During their marriage, Mr Goddard-Watts enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as well as becoming a keen racing driver, competing in a British GT championship at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium in 1999

Divorce through the ages: The Goddard-Watts feud in years

2010 – The Goddard-Watts end their 13-year marriage and Mr Goddard-Watts agreed Mrs Goddard-Watts should get a house worth £3.25 million and a £4 million lump sum.

2016 – After a judge review Mr Goddard-Watts is told to hand Mrs Goddard-Watts more than £6 million. 

2018 – Mrs Goddard-Watts returned to court again and made a further complaint her ex had not given full detail about the potential value of a deal he was involved in.

2019 – Towards the end of the year a judge rules in her favour.

2022 – Mr Justice Cohen is analysing the latest round of a long-running row between James Goddard-Watts and former wife Julia at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London over money.   

He had joined the family business, which originated when Jon and Jenny Goddard-Watts bought a small company that sold screws in 1981.

In the following years, they added two further companies to what was then the Woodscrew Supply Company.

Their reputation for selling a quality product grew, and in 1993 they combined the companies under the name Screwfix Direct. 

In 1999, the family sold Screwfix to B&Q owner Kingfisher for £60million, and 12 years later they sold the family’s second business Toolstation to Travis Perkins. 

Although Travis Perkins originally only bought a 30 per cent stake in the company for £18m in 2008, it later opted to buy out the remaining 70 per cent for a further £24m at the start of 2012.  

Mrs Goddard-Watts returned to court again in 2018 and made a further complaint.

She said Mr Goddard-Watts had not given full detail about the potential value of a deal he was involved in.

A judge ruled in her favour in late 2019.

Mr Justice Holman said if the pair could not agree on a sum, a judge should again reassess evidence and decide if Mrs Goddard-Watts should get more money.

He said a case in which a woman had twice complained about ‘non-disclosure’ after a settlement was ‘vanishingly rare’ and ‘probably unique’.

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