A millionaire estate agent has won a ruling that parts of his divorce settlement were too favourable to his former wife Elizabeth.
Fifty-nine year-old Christos Malialis told the Court of Appeal that he had to sell his £1.8 million home in Finchley and move into a rented one-bedroom flat after last December’s ruling by Mrs Justice Parker. He claimed the divorce settlement had ended up giving his ex-wife twice the assets awarded to him.
Mr Malialis told the judges that many of the financial assets he retained as part of the settlement were tied up in his business. Their £1 million value reduced to only £648,000 once his liabilities were factored in.
His income was now only £11,000 per year, he added:
“The judge has awarded twice as much to my former wife which is grossly unfair. Most of what the judge has left me is tied up in business, therefore I will never be in a position to buy a home for myself and will be forced to rent accommodation which will be nowhere near as comfortable as what I have been accustomed to. My family made huge contribution to the matrimonial property.”
Elizabeth accused her former husband of concealing assets worth £22 million during the divorce but the judge said his lifestyle did not support this claim.
The Court allowed his appeal.
Leading the ruling, Lord Justice Thorpe said:
“The history is unfortunate. The husband has described these proceedings as a disaster and I have some sympathy with that view. The trial took place in December 2010, but the judge did not deliver her judgement until December 2011. That is highly unusual in an ancillary relief trial.”
According the Daily Mail, the judge fell ill during the interval.
In his additional ruling, Lord Justice Lewison said it was unfair to have given Mr Malialis sole responsibility for more than £300,00 worth of debt on the couple’s Cyprus property, or to have Mrs Malialis control over when her former husband received his share of the assets.
Mr Justice Thorpe said the decision to give Mr Malialis responsibility for the debt was “completely unsupportable and not fair”.
He added: “We are not happy that [Mrs Justice Parker] came to the right decision on these points. We allow the appeal to the extent of redrafting aspects of the order which are plainly too favourable to the wife.”
The estate agent ran a successful lettings agency in Hampstead and was married to Elizabeth for 34 years. In addition to the business and the home in Finchley, the couple also owned properties in Cyprus and Liberia.
The couple had two grown-up children when Mrs Malialis began divorce proceedings in 2007, to his reported shock. She accused him of gambling and other misdemeanours.
The ruling comes hard on the heels of last week’s shock divorce ruling in favour of multi-millionaire Michael Prest. Whilst the latter case proceeds towards the Supreme Court, this new Appeal Court ruling appears to go some way towards redressing an arguably unbalanced ruling in favour of the ex-wife.