The husband of a wealthy accountant has objected to a divorce ruling which would require him to find employment.
Rupert Nightingale was married to university sweetheart Kirsten Turner for seven years. She earned a six figure salary as a partner at international financial services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, while he pursued fine art photography, making little money, and looked after their daughter.
The couple split in 2010 and Mrs Turner moved out of the couple’s home in Wimbledon. She has now bought a new home in nearby Wandsworth.
In the subsequent divorce proceedings, Mr Nightingale was awarded spousal maintenance of approximately £50,000 per year, the London Evening Standard reports, along with a lump sum of £300,000.
However, Mr Nightingale launched appeal proceedings when he learned that this lump sum was to be partly funded by the sale of the couple’s former home, in which he still lives, and that his spousal maintenance had been discounted by his earning capacity. The Judge believed he was capable of earning £36,000 a year, and cut his maintenance by that amount, saying a return to full time paid work would be “reasonable”.
He has now been granted permission to appeal this ruling. He is seeking undiscounted maintenance of £85,000 per year, plus the right to stay in the former matrimonial home.
Mr Nightingale’s counsel argued that the settlement had not reflected the couple’s standard of living during the marriage. He had, he said, provided stability for his family, earning 30 times less than Mrs Turner while doing so, after they had made a joint decision to prioritise her career.
His barrister told the court:
“The wife’s earning capacity was the main family asset and the husband was entitled to share in the very large surplus”
Mr Nightingale, who has a photography studio in the Wimbledon home, claimed the judge’s ruling had been affected by “gender bias”. He told the Standard:
“Calculations were made on a salary of a job I did 11 years ago, which I gave up for my family. Now I’m doing something else. The judgment was unfair and unworkable.”
“It has been a long fight, not of my making. It has been horrid. No one wants to go to the Court of Appeal but it’s necessary to seek a fair outcome.”
The former couple’s daughter now stays with her mother four days a week, and with her father three days a week.
Mr Nightingale formerly worked a picture editor at Men’s Health magazine.