House husband unhappy with divorce ruling requiring job

Divorce|January 29th 2015

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.”

He added:

“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.

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  1. Rachel says:

    It always takes the man to try to take the woman’s money to make the world take note of the insanity of the family courts. Every man that ever tried to rely upon a prenuptial agreement was thrown out of Court, until the German heiress Karen Radmacher sought to rely upon hers in order to protect her fortune. In that case, the courts thought, for the first time, that ‘decisive weight’ should be given to them. The husband’s settlement was then drastically reduced

    Who, in their right mind, thinks it is unfair for the Courts to expect Rupert Nightingale to use his full-time earning potential. Their child spends more time with the mother – who is working full time. Most rationale people would think it ridiculous that this case even exists. However, this is what the Courts do day in and day out. When the roles are more commonly reversed and the woman has stayed at home, the Courts rule that she may quite simply stay home for the rest of her life and be financially provided for by the toils of the husband (and his second family if he has one). The courts never place any responsibility or timescale on a woman trying to improve her income. She may make whatever choices she wishes, at the ex-husbands expense. In this modern day of equality, it is unfair, sexist, paternalistic and discriminatory.

    Let’s hope that this role-reversed husband has the same effect as role-reversed Karen Radmacher in helping the judiciary to see how far removed they are from the thoughts of normal people about fairness. Let’s also hope that politicians act on the Law Commission report and the private members bill of Baroness Deech. The law has to change.

  2. Luke says:

    “The former couples daughter now stays with her mother four days a week, and with her father three days a week.”
    He has to get a job, it may take perhaps a year re-skill, so he should be given some money for that period to tide him over – after that he should get sweet FA.
    Rachel’s right though, it highlights the feminist driven agenda of the courts – what they are proposing may be much better than I suggest but it is far worse than any woman would usually get. It is also unfathomable that she gets a greater degree of residency than he does, given the previous situation.

  3. Sandra says:

    The article does not say how old the husband is. If he is in his mid to late 40s, the Court should order him to get a job and stop being dependant on his ex-wife. However, if he is at retirement age than it is a different story, but it does not seem to be the case. A lot of people shift into different jobs in their 40s, so he is not alone.
    Also, their daughter might go off to school and the husband will be doing what? Take care of an empty big house for his own sole benefit or worse yet to get a girlfriend to live with him or new wife in the same matrimonial house as he lived with his the ex-wife?
    He should not abuse the system with his application to the Court of Appeal. He is better off using his energy into showing and proving that he is indeed a man who can stand on his own feet. Divorce is a chance to be re-born and do something different with once life i.e. contribute to society and to one’s own well-being as an individual on this planet.

  4. Andrew says:

    Sandra, whatever the rights and wrongs, appealing (and I note he passed the permission stage) is not an abuse of the system. It is his right.

  5. Sandra says:

    It may be his right, but wouldn’t he be better off using his legal fees on preparing to get a job and becoming self sufficient? It appears that his application has no merit…I guess old habits die hard. This is a lesson for all women not to keep a man at home for too long!

  6. sue says:

    Having read Rachel’s posts a few times I suspect she is in fact a he .

    • Nordic says:

      Why would you say that, Sue?

    • Rachel says:

      Sue, I am very much a woman!! I am married to a man who was ordered to pay joint-lives maintenance (ie until he dies) to his ex-wife who was in her 30s when they divorced. Over a decade our legal bills have been in 6 figures due to the endless need to defend actions for more money and now latterly in order to negotiate a massive lump sum to his ex in order to allow him to retire (due to his ill-health). Providing a life of choice and leisure for my husband’s ex has quite literally ruined the last 10 years of our life. We have shouldered all of the financial burden while his ex has not been obliged to retrain or work. The law has to change and I will do everything I can to ensure it does. Maintenance should be time limited and focussed on the needs to retrain and get back to work. Meal tickets for life are grossly unfair.

    • Nordic says:

      Sue. My wife would agree 100% with Rachel and she is definitely also a she. So would, I suspect, most modern self-supporting women as well as second wives who suffer with their husbands under the unfair, discriminatory and outdated practices in this country. You would have to go back many decades to see something similar in the Nordics. If you try to explain the English system to a normal Nordic woman today ( and I have tried), the reaction is disbelief and incredulity at the way in which not having a career can be turned into a career.
      Rachel’s views are not male views but normal and sensible views about what is fair in a modern world were both men and women seek to be treated as equals. It is a sad reflection on the gender polarisation promoted by the archaic family law in this country that such views would cause you to question her gender.

  7. Sola says:

    Sandra and Sue, if it were the other way round, will you still say the judgement is right and the woman should go get a job?

    Simple yes or no answer please!

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