Another big divorce case made headlines last week. A 52 year old wife who gave up her career as a business woman to become a “conventional housewife” has been left nearly all of the family fortune by a Divorce Judge.
The wife in this case had been criticised by her husband for not earning more money after they separated, even though she abandoned her career as a recruitment consultant to run the home and bring up their 3 children over a period of 20 years.
The husband in this case is a software tycoon and the family as a whole had a very high standard of living thanks to the business acumen of the husband. They lived in a £1.2million detached cottage in Buckinghamshire, taking expensive holidays and showing exceptional generosity in lavishing gifts of cars, holidays, horses and expensive birthday parties on themselves and their 3 children.
But their extravagant spending during their marriage and after their bitterly contested separation in 2013 brought them to the brink of financial disaster, greatly reducing the multi-million pound family assets.
After their separation, the husband’s lifestyle in particular “continued as a very affluent affair” with the husband taking 6 holidays in the space of 9 months, while huge debts mounted. Unfortunately, after 25 years of marriage the husband’s “extravagant” spending has left only enough to cover his ex-wife’s needs. The wife has been awarded 90% of the assets, approximately half a million pounds, leaving the husband with only £66,000.00.
The Judge in this case confessed that he had made a substantial departure from authority in handing the vast majority of the family assets to a “stay at home” wife.
However, it is not that surprising for a wife and mother to get 90% of the assets. The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973, says the first consideration has to be given to any minor children. So in most cases wives and mothers will get most of their capital for their housing needs. In cases where there is not enough money to go round, the needs of one party are the trump card which secures that person most of the assets up for division.
In the particular case reported upon above, the Judge’s were influenced heavily by the fact that they had made findings that the husband in this particular case had been extremely reckless with the family wealth, greatly reducing the multi-million pound family assets after the separation.
The husband in this case had also stopped paying his wife maintenance and in July of last year was ordered to pay £77,000.00 of unpaid maintenance and other debts from his share of £66,000.00, effectively leaving him with nothing from the marriage. Putting this in to perspective, it must be noted that the husband in this case was earning up to £240,000.00 a year. The Judge ordered him to pay £77,000.00 in unpaid maintenance last July also imposed the 6 week jail sentence on the husband but suspended it to give him a chance to pay.
The husband is challenging both the sentence and the final outcome of the case. How much money will be left by the final outcome is anyone’s guess but once again this case highlights the need for both parties in a divorce to try and compromise a deal in order to secure as much of the family wealth as they can, rather than lining the pockets, dare I say it, of the lawyers involved. Unfortunately, cases like this happen in all walks of life, where one party acts so unreasonably that the other party is put to great financial lengths in trying to seek a fair deal. By the sounds of the facts from the above reported case, it would seem that the husband went to extreme lengths to reduce the family’s wealth after their separation so that the wife had far less to claim against.