Art lecturer in court settlement with former pupil

Cohabitation|November 5th 2015

A successful art teacher has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former pupil after the couple had a 25 year relationship.

Kim Woodward was a 19 year-old student at the Salisbury College of Art when she began a relationship with lecturer Rupert Ashmore, then 36, in 1985.

They moved in together, set up a design business and eventually had a child before separating in 2010.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Mr Ashmore then insisted that she was not entitled to any share in the couple’s home or the business. Her name was not on the property deeds and she had only been an employee of the firm and a lodger in his property, he claimed.

She could not have been under any illusions about ownership, he declared, and the couple had never had a joint bank account.

He had fallen out of love with Ms Woodward by the time she fell pregnant, he told the courts, and had only stayed with her for the sake of their now adult son.

Ms Woodward took her former teacher to court after he refused her a share in their former matrimonial home. She told a judge that her former partner believed “marriage was only good for the tax breaks” and that he had been “controlling”, the paper reports. Despite this, they had been both a genuine couple and active business partners, she insisted.

The family court judge was unconvinced by Mr Ashmore’s claims, which he described as “quite extraordinary” and “wholly unconvincing”. He accepted Ms Woodward’s claims that she had worked hard to maintain their business and ruled that the property had effectively been matrimonial in nature. The home should be sold, the Judge ruled, with the proceeds divided between them.

Mr Ashmore appealed. But, after Judge Sir Terence Etherton described the lecturer’s insistence that she receive “not a penny” as a “strange proposition”, he offered his ex-partner an out of court settlement: £275,000 for her share of the property, and this was accepted.

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    At Last!
    Common sense prevails – let’s hope this means that the way is clearing for others in similar circumstances…
    The Cohabitation Bill should now be accelerated to ensure that people in similar circumstances are adequately protected

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