designer purses and luxurious watches

In another case a husband hoped to reduce the settlement paid to his ex-wife by asking the judge to consider the amount spent on handbags during their relationship. His petition was not successful.

This has been compounded in recent years by the soaring price of these luxury items. Hermès handbags grew in value by 17pc last year, topping estate agent Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index. Handbags that have been bought as an investment have jumped in value by 108pc over the past decade, according to the report.

Knight Frank said the appetite for “relatively affordable pick-me-ups” during the pandemic had contributed to surging prices in the past year. 

The value of fine wines has increased 13pc in the past year and 127pc in the past decade. The price of designer watches jumped by 5pc in 2020.

Sellier Knightsbridge, which sells luxury items, said premiums on the resale value of “investment grade” handbags were substantial. For many, they are an investment which can be quickly realised if needed for life events such as divorce.

However, courts have not looked favourably upon couples arguing over valuable items, said Ms Fernandes.

“They don’t really want to get involved with personal possessions and pets, and judges want couples to ideally settle this outside of their jurisdiction and not waste court time.

“Courts rarely entertain requests to consider spouses’ respective possessions when weighing the details of divorce settlements,” she said.

Last year the Ministry of Justice recorded an increase in the use of private courts to settle family disputes, as couples sought to bypass huge delays in the public legal system.

Couples using services such as the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators can pay for a private judge of their choosing to settle divorces.

In the first of its kind, the MoJ began providing tax-free vouchers earlier this year to separating couples to deter them from lengthy court battles.

It has set aside up to £1m to provide £500 vouchers to 2,000 couples to pay for mediation and avoid painful court proceedings.

It is hoped the scheme will see custody arrangements agreed outside of the court room, but also decisions concerning assets and money.

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