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High Court: husband can appeal ‘unfair’ divorce settlement

The High Court has granted a man permission to appeal his divorce settlement, after he argued that it would leave his former wife with more assets.

The case of C v SR  concerned a settlement ordered by a district judge following the end of a 16 year marriage. The judge awarded the couple’s former home, valued at £975,000, to the wife – albeit subject to an existing mortgage. The husband was also ordered to pay a set amount of child support as well as ‘joint lives maintenance’ – a long term award which continues until the death or remarriage of one of the parties (or a further court order).

The husband claimed that awarding outright ownership of the house, the couple’s most valuable asset, to the wife was unfair, and placed her in a better permission than him. He sought permission to appeal, saying an outright sale or a ‘Mesher Order’ would be more appropriate. The latter are orders which allow one party in a former marriage to stay in a home for a period of time – often until children leave home – while the other party retains an interest in the property.

The husband also argued against the joint lives award to his former wife, preferring a limited time ‘term order’.

Mr Justice Moylan considered the requirements of the Family Procedure Rules 2010. These require that a potential appeal must have a real prospect of success or present some other compelling reason to be heard.

He concluded the husband “has a real prospect of establishing that the [existing financial settlement orders], in particular in combination, are outside the bracket of reasonable orders in that they do not reach a balanced outcome.”

The husband had, he declared, a good chance of convincing a court of appeal that the original judge had relied too heavily on uncertain estimates of future income:

“…when the court is making orders based on estimates of future income, there needs to be, in my judgment, a reasonable degree of caution exercised to make sure that the order which is made is (a) affordable, and (b) does not result in an imbalance or an undue imbalance between the parties’ respective future financial positions.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. John says:

    It’s about time the balance was redressed.

    My divorce settlement was totally unbalanced, and failed to recognize, that it was as a direct result of a previous inheritance that was put into the marriage, plus my hard work and savings in consolidating and growing the assets. Not to mention the respondents adulteress activities, which were not taken into consideration.
    The bias court ruling discriminated against me, on the pretence of making divorce fairer, in asset splitting.
    My ex has had the benefit of inheritance from her family. Did I see a penny of it…..No!

    • S says:

      my case seems exactly like this, 7 year marriage adulterous wife, tax avoidance, and hidden inheritance, holidays paid for by “friends”!, house total assets awarded, £900 pcm spousal maintenance and half my 17 yr pension.
      Judges are totally biased to the poor woman victims, it’s bullshit, it’s about time men got a fair deal! If the marriage is over both parties need to stand on their own two feet, not act like a parasite!

      • G says:

        I totally agree. I have to pay a large amount of maintenance to my wife till I am 65 as well as giving over to her most of what I own and half my pension, even though she now lives with my daughters who are young adults and earning so there are three people quite capable of meeting their needs without my contribution. During my daughters’ university years I was their ear of support and financial support as best I could, while their mother gave nothing, spending the money I gave her on frivolities as she always did when we were married. The divorce proceedings, financial settlement, were presided over by [name removed], who was like a fat red faced child who had a mother fixation and totally ignored evidence I gave against my ex-wife regarding embezzlement of money I took out of an endowment, sale of my personal property etc., saying she had a vocation that needed to be supported. The whole thing was a complete farce, and in no way fair. I had to conclude that judges work in the interest of the state, not individuals or real justice, so if I could fund her and take the burden off them that was the end objective, despite a 20 year marriage with (I have to say it) a psychopath who imprisoned me and almost got me to end my life, the grin on her face still haunts me.

        I am told by divorce lawyers that if I challenge this in court I will mostly likely lose, even though I am now being made redundant. The justice system in this country is absurd and corrupt.

        • G says:

          I should add that my ex-wife is still manipulating my daughters and trying to hurt me, while spending to the hilt and amassing huge debts, looking for another war where she can try to shame, destroy, and get money from me, even though I don’t have much. Meantime I am trying to educate them, in subtle ways, to learn how to deal with her, encouraging them to stay with her in London where they have career opportunities as long as they can to accumulate sufficient money to get out and find their own way, preferably out of London as it becomes increasingly an awful place to live. The “Family Court” judged in her favour, but I am the one who has been supporting them, at a distance, in all ways.

        • Alan says:

          The marriage certificate exists to allow a wife to exploit their husband if an estrangement occurs. I agree with this situation, but only if the wife is the violated party. That situation should also be the case vice versa.

  2. Luke says:

    Unfortunately John you signed the marriage contract – once you do that you allow the possibility of ending up in front of a Judge who can arbitrarily screw your life.

    People (mainly men) do not understand that they are effectively signing over ALL their assets to the discretion of a judge when they get married.

  3. Sf says:

    I’m a woman in America who after 20 years of marriage and 7 years of separation is in the middle of a divorce where I am paying Alimony and child support. My spouse never worked as hard as I did no matter the hardship it caused the family. Now he seems to want every dime he can get. Lazy people prey on hard workers. They pretend to be different than they are until they marry. It can happen to anyone.

    • Luke says:

      what you write is true, it can happen to anyone, however, I would say that in the UK a man is ON AVERAGE more likely to get heavily financially screwed than a woman.
      This is because in the UK women almost always get the main residency of any children and so are financially heavily protected (and I have some sympathy with this residency issue) and also because there is STILL a default feeling within our antiquated judicial system in the UK that women are seen as the more vulnerable party in divorce.

    • CG says:

      Thanks for addressing the balance Sf. It’s not a female/male thing, this situation can be discriminatory for either party. I got very little from my ex despite being the main carer for my children. He didn’t want me to work, he wanted the ‘corporate wife’. I could have asked for a hell of a lot more if I’d had the financial support that he had, but I couldn’t afford to fight him any further by going to a final hearing. If I’d lost I’d have ended up with nothing and a huge debt to pay off. I couldn’t afford to fight my corner. 16 years later he still has the upper hand because I put my kids first and worked as a sole trader for the past 12 years, not earning a lot but being there for my kids. I was basically an underpaid, under appreciated baby sitter. I’m now being forced to sell my home that he he insisted having 30% of. I can’t afford to take on the mortgage so I have no choice. His greed and lack of humanity is quite disgusting. I was labelled the money grabbing bitch from the moment we separated. I wanted nothing that wasn’t at least fair. If he’d had his way I’d have been living in a cardboard box under Waterloo Bridge!

  4. Steve says:

    Most people enter into marriage for the noblest reasons. It is therefore incongruous that the marriage contract can become such a devastating legal weapon, a passport for evil and vindictive machination. My marriage lasted 18 or so years and ended by mutual consent. The court decided that the matrimonial assets should be divided 50/50 despite the fact that my 30 year career funded everything. My perceived superior future earning potential was a factor, misguidedly. No, as things stand the marriage contract is a licence for exploitation. The law needs to change to protect the assets of the innocent and offer a realistic means of redress for those who have been mistreated in the past.

  5. Jane says:

    Can’t understand my settlement at all , my solicitor bought my ex husbands solicitors out so now she can’t inform me of anything to do with the divorce , which I feel is very unfair as I’m only doing work that was left undone by her firm , I have a order that states the respondent shall pay to the applicant periodical payments at the rate of £1000,00 per month payable monthly with credit of any sums payable pursuant to a child support assessment in respect of my son , the 1st payment will be due 17th jan and shall continue until 30th December during the joint lives of parties ( is this until death ) ? Or cease upon my early remarriage , my solicitor knew I wouldn’t be able to contact CSA as my ex is self employed and works in Iraq ….

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Jane
      One of my Leeds based partners has advised you in our free legal clinic. It would be inappropriate to publicly add to that advice.

  6. Kathryn says:

    My divorce settlement last week has left me in a mess. My solicitor failed to submit my supplied evidence into court which disproved my husbands outright lies which he submitted to deceive the court. I was badgered into agreeing to a deal outside the court room before the offer was brought to the judge. I agreed in haste because my barrister advised me that I stood a real risk of losing the family home. I am the sole carer of our 4 children and he is not permitted contact because of a restraining order imposed on him when he was convicted of abuse towards the family. He subjected our children and myself to long-term physical and psychological abuse which which we are still traumatised by and so my children needed the stability of the home and I needed a clean break from him. In the end I was forced to make the decision between financial security for my children or emotional security (ridiculous as the two have an obvious link). I feel as though I was bullied into agreeing to a deal that so obviously leaves me and my children severely disadvantaged. My husband ended up getting equivalent to 70% – 75% of the settlement, whilst I and the kids are left with 25% – 30%. It has left me in such debt, I can’t sleep at night. I do not trust my solicitor and have no funds at all. I have no idea where to turn to.

    • T says:

      Similar thing happened to me – husband lied repeatedly to court ( about the size of his pension – the money in his bank account etc) One of the worst lies was he told the court I chose to to be a full time mother against his advice!! when in fact I told my solicitor I worked 96 hour weeks ( night shifts and weekends ) as well as taking care of the children while he was often away on business. I had P60’s to prove it – but instead of telling the court – my own solicitors badgered me into agreeing a 70% to him 30% to me settlement – I put in 80% of the capital from an inheritance to buy our family home – how can it all go so wrong and is there anything that can be done about it?

  7. JamesB says:

    £1000 a month on a joint lives basis seems nice.

  8. Duane says:

    I can totally relate. I was married 18 years. In our divorce my ex wife received the house, all belongings in the house, all the equity in the house, her mother life insurance of 25, ooo (which she truly received illegally), the children, child support of 2500 a month, marital support for 40 months even if she remarried (which she did a week after the divorce was final, and retroactive support for two years prior (even though she paid. The court refused to credit that since there was not a judgement ). Now I make 80,000 a year and after what she gets inspire of being remarried I get 17,000 to live on. Doesn’t pay the basic bills much less my federal student loans. Total unfairness and nobody in the legal system wants to help what so ever. She said that she would never let me be successful. Well she has done it! I was working on my nurse practioner and once completed had a goal of providing access to health care for free a few times a month. But now all dreams and aspirations are gone as I am not even allowed to live.

  9. John Carter says:

    It has a real prospect of establishing that the existing financial settlement orders.and i don’t agree that husband can appeal unfair divorce settlement.

  10. Malcolm Thompson says:

    My ex-wife was granted full ownership of two properties I owned plus all my endowment policies and all of my private pension. This was 4 years ago, now I have no job, no money and having to live off pension credit. Surely this cannot be right? Is there anything I can do?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Malcolm
      If your claims were closed off in the divorce then I don’t see what else you could do.An appeal would be unlikely to succeed as its so far out of time after the event. Ask your solicitor who represented you but the passage of time seems to be too great.

  11. Rayza says:

    Hi Marilyn stowe my name is Rayza I was married in community of property for five years and when I got dismissed at work my wife took me to her lawyers to go and change our marriage contract without explaining to me what was im signing for.then after a year she filled for divorce and when I check the details of the new contract it shows that we are now married out of community and I need to contest the proccedure that led to this agreement because even the lawyer did not fill me in.

  12. Name Witheld says:

    My wife and I have decided to get divorced amicably. Oh dear no one told me when we got married what it could mean. Its insane, the state is in the dark ages effectively demanding a ‘dispute’ and ‘war’ to get divorced. Surely it breaches the human rights act, that is 2 people should be able to divorced without having to wait 2 years!

    Unfortunately we have ended up with solicitors. Im a smart guy and I can see their slow creeping tricks to suck us both into battle (I don’t blame them, they don’t have a choice).

    Its got nothing to do with protecting the kids. If it did, then they wouldn’t allow my wife to rape me of my world. Spin it around “hey you give me 50% of the kids and you will never see them again” that’s what it is but for my lifes work building my business and assets. Any idiot can have kids and quite frankly I can buy a decent nanny that would do a sterling job. But no, everything is destroyed including my 4 kids private education.

    Now I understand those divorced men at the end of the bar, broken and destroyed like a mother who’s lost a child in needless cold blood. Its NOT equitable or equivalent.

    I have never experienced such state sponsored evil torture. I dont think I will survive this…. I wonder….. if this post will be found when something happens to me.

    • Luke says:

      “Oh dear no one told me when we got married what it could mean. ”
      Well the information about what can happen to men if they sign the marriage contract has been out there for a long time now, it’s starting to dawn on some of them but generally men are really sloooooow in getting the message…

  13. JUNE says:

    My husband’s exwife is making a claim after twenty years of leaving the home and eighteen years divorce. she deserted me when i was very ill. she deceived me into marry her. she gave me an std by sleeping with someone else and not telling me about it causing me severe health problems, now wants a share of my property after me struggling to pay whiole very sick.

  14. RM says:

    I suffered mental abuse from my wife for many years and after I had a nervous breakdown in 2003 the abuse became physical. My Dr. refused to help me, telling me to “get a grip”. I then suffered 9 years of the abuse culminating in her telling me in detail of her plans to kill me. I left home one night with just the clothes on my back after being warned by Hampshire police Victim Support that my life was in severe danger (this was after several violent events, during which on one occasion the police hd to use tear gas three times to get the knife from her hand). I departed to find a suitable place to kill myself. I was rescued by a friend and taken by him to the far east where he retired to. I then went to live with friends in the far east who looked after me. I was in a very bad state and suicidal.

    My then wife started wife divorce proceedings and lied about just about everything. She also conducted a hate campaign against me. I engaged a solicitor (it was a woman who answered my call to the legal advice helpline when I wanted to know my rights about leaving home), but who would not accept the fact that I was very ill and told me I “jI had to just had to get on with it”.

    After I queried a demand from the solicitor for more money and asked for a breakdown of costs, she told me that they “didn’t do that but just put the money on account”. When I pointed out that their law firms own terms of business state that they will provide detailed accounts, she stopped responding to me.

    The divorce court fraudulently “deemed” that I had received all correspondence in the matter and and gave the woman who had tried to kill me both my houses and half of my pension leaving me with nowhere to live and little to live on.

    I appealed with the help of a new lawyer, but the new lawyer also would not accept that I was ill and after spending all of my money, the court informed us of an appeal hearing at 48 hours notice. I could not attend as I couldn’t afford the air fare to UK and anyway, thanks to the court and the voracious lawyers I had nowhere to live and nothing to live on.

    A barrister and a solicitor attended the court in my absence. The judge upheld the original judgement and charged me 10,000 pounds in costs. The barrister representing me told the judge that his judgement “flew in the face of common justice” to which the judge responded “he didn’t engage”.

    Is it any wonder that more and more people take matters into their own hands? The divorce court is nothing more than a thinly disguised thieves kitchen.

  15. CB says:

    It seems to me that divorce in the UK is decided very simply on the basis, take according to ability and give according to need. Both ability and need appear to get manipulated in an attempt to fool the Judge. Because I am capable and my ex wife was not, I had the ‘pleasure’ of signing both our houses over to her and was informed to “go rent somewhere.” I was also passed a life long spousal maintenance package. I was allowed to keep my business I had set up, presumably so I could keep up the life -long maintenance payments. My ex wife lives in a mortgage free fabulous house, with beautiful lawns and enjoys holidays and cheese and wine mornings with her ‘friends’. She has absolutely no need to work. On the other hand I do not foresee myself retiring. Like most other capable people that have been ‘processed’ I feel hard-done-by. I think the noble and wonderful institution of marriage has been wrecked, and it discourages decent people who want to make a commitment under the eyes of God from doing so, because of the way the legal system ‘works’ if the worst should happen. It needs urgent reform.

    • CS says:

      Couldn’t agree more with your comments CB – seeing the system in operation myself was unedifying at best, I can only describe it as a good old fashioned shake down. Whole process was far too long, expensive and leaves a bitter, bitter taste.

  16. K says:

    I am a woman in the UK and I divorced my lying cheating abusive husband of 9 years. Between us we owned 6 houses, various investments and pensions, and the trial judge awarded my ex EVERYTHING. Not only that, he ordered me to pay all of his costs as well which were over £120k.

    The trial judge was a man, who gave my ex husband everything I had, even though I wasn’t the one who had been having several affairs or been physically, verbally and mentally abusive!

    If you think women in the UK are favoured in divorce settlements you are very very wrong. I went into my marriage with substantial assets and my lying cheating ex got them all in the divorce. I ended up homeless and penniless as I couldn’t get a mortgage to buy another house. Thank goodness we didn’t have children.

  17. R says:

    I feel ive been mistreated over my divorce. Basically i was married for 21 yrs. I was the main breadwinner old school family values. I paid the bills mortgage etc. My wife and 3 daughters never went without. Never earned much average yearly pay around 40k. I had the pension. My wife had her own business in the last 5 yrs of marriage. We had debt together which was manageable. Around 30k loans credit cards hp. Etc. Anyway cut a long story short. She told me 7 yrs ago she didnt love me anymore. We talked she moved out. I had an idea it was more. I was right she was having an affair. It came out it was over a long period of time. 15yrs which is now common knowledge. Im not bitter by all means im well over it. The thing is the judge never took into account the adultery. Ive had to pay 400 a month csa. 60k of my pension. She still lives in house untill my youngest has left school. Im not complaining as its my daughter. But then i had to pay all the debt. Still paying it now. Plus live my own life. I cant have a new mortgage because she wont sell house so have to rent. Im in a debt management scheme so cant get credit. I put a mesha order on house so her affaired partner cant move into my old family home. They have a child together now. But the thing is that home was my parents. He apparently isnt living there althou i know he sleeps there occasionally as he has his own home. The home still has a mortgage but with an equity of around 50k. This has been agreed a 50/50 split less interest payments for her. when daughter leaves full time education. All fair enough. Apart from the fact i probably wont see a penny. My gripe with this all im 46 i still work. I have to rent im running out of time to mortgage ive lost 60k pension which was half of it. My ex wife is stopping all this happening as she is sitting pretty in my family home with her boyfriend of now 21 yrs. Im still being punished. Its laughable just typing this feeling like a mug. But thats just my nature. That is a happy go lucky positive person not a complete washed up desperate fool. Haha. Anyway i dont want sympathy i just want justice..?? Do i have a case in over ruling the court just to take into account the adultery for her taking my pension and the sale of the house. With immediate effect..?? My daughters by the way will be accommodated. I live with my eldest. 26 yrs old My middle daughter lives with her boyfriend 23yrs old. And my youngest is 17. Thanks for reading..?? I dont know where this will lead or get anywhere. ?? I just feel so hard done by and had to ask someone.

  18. Glynn says:

    should I appeal the appeal judge as I have been left with NO accommodation and a reduced pension to live on. once I pay rend and bills (debt from the divorce) I am left with £1.63p to live off.
    she was given all the 4 bed house and contents I paid for solely on my own (no dependents) 5% of my naval pension which is my only income of £10,500pa. she keeps her income of £18,450pa and her growing pension in the NHS. she will be mortgae free in three years and I will be on the streets.
    I am also a recovering cancer patient one year on.

    • Peter says:

      You are a man you have not rights. The court sees man by default as criminals. There is democracy in family courts please advise every single man not to marry. Because the courts will remove every human and equality right from every man.

  19. John Smith says:

    The actual marriage ceremony must be by law conducted in a solicitors office

    • John Smith says:

      Marriage is old fashioned! Live in love together .Marriage is jam for lawyers!

      • Peter says:

        Totally agree, advise anyone not to get married, unwritten contract and by default men always lose. A total joke you are by default guilty because you are a man. Democracy does not exist in family courts lol jokers .

  20. Maria says:

    Hi Maryln ,
    My Husband did not participate in the divorce proceedings after a failed FDR. He resides out of Uk .
    Judge ruled in my favour and a asset freeze order was implemented.
    Last minute , my Husband has made an appeal against the judgement .
    What will happen and how Long will the appeal take ? Who pays for the legal costs incurred for the appeal .

  21. omaymen says:

    I signed a settlement personally without lawyer. In that time I needed the money to rent an apartment. I could not continue living in our own home. It was very hard for me. That was the reason why I asked him an amount of money as settlement and he responded directly.
    I was under depression and stress. Now I want to appeal after I found that what I have done was completely wrong and not fair for me.
    I did not take any thing beside the money. The money he gave me was not even half price of the house he sold after.
    I was married for over 33 years Instead of appreciated what I have done for him in that 33 years he looks for another woman which is at the age of his oldest daughter.
    The divorce was taken outside the country and did not certified inside the country.
    Do I have the right to have a case and take him to court.

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Good morning
      Thanks for your message. Could we ask (roughly) where you live? We’ll ask a solicitor from the nearest office to drop you a line.

  22. Paul Robert Flitton says:

    I’d really appreciate to hear both your views as solicitors and those of the public on these horrendous stories… Men’s health is not a freak show, please show us what you have done to help and share the views of the public in relation to the stories as it will only benefit men in the long run.

  23. David says:

    The law is all for women .I purchased the property before marriage. Yet the judge still give the ex 50% of the equity. Half my pension .half my isa .and 6k per year for 10yrs and this is after 4 yrs 5 month marriage .no children involved .the law is for women gold diggers

  24. D says:

    It’s not a Justice System, it’s “just a system”
    Who lies the best & who cries the most, will always prosper in the Family Courts.
    Most Solicitors in an area know each other and discuss cases over lunch.
    And Solicitors and Judges belong to the same clubs, sailing, wine, bridge, conservatives etc. The legal profession is a huge extortion racket.
    What is disproportionate is the legal fees, £300 per hour, compared to the average workers £20-£30 per hour. Making money from people’s misery, when they are both stressed and vulnerable is indeed a dishonourable vocation. The average person is saddled with debt (legal fees) following divorce. I would recommend saving your money, rocking up at court for a final hearing and simply tossing a coin to find the winner.
    Adversarial divorce litigation is a disgraceful way to conduct business.
    What about fair, reasonable and broadly equal outcomes, that should be the objective and achieving justice for all concerned. Children must always come first though !

  25. SG says:

    Men are wrong if they think it is only them that suffer in divorce settlements. It’s all about the judge on the day. My husband played on his past cancer diagnosis to the full, and the man judge sided with him completely. He got literally everything, and I was blackmailed into agreeing to it, otherwise I’d be made to pay his costs. I don’t know how these judges live with themselves. In a long marriage, everything should be split 50/50. The whole court system is farce. Solicitors making thousands out of others pain. I’m losing my home and will have to rent at 65, after a lifetimes work. Husband kept the business, pensions and assets worth over 800.000. I have no income, and can’t work due to ill health. There is no justice. I’d advise anyone not to get married. people change and divorce destroys you, but men need to realise it isn’t just them that com off worse..women do too. It depends on the judge..mine was a misogynistic cruel human being.

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