A businessman’s appeal against an order giving almost all his wealth to his ex-wife has been adjourned.
According to media reports, she had given up her career to raise the couple’s children while her husband enjoyed a successful career as managing director of a software firm. They were together for 25 years before their marriage broke down in 2013. The couple reportedly enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. They took luxury holidays while their children attended a high end public school and they lived in a expensive property in the Chiltern Hills.
Judge Glen Brasse said the husband had taken no less than six holidays in the space of nine months following the separation, despite the fact that “huge and pressing debts” were accumulating. Meanwhile, the wife spent £5,000 on a birthday party.
But the Judge believed the wife’s spending had been motived by a need for “emotional and psychological comfort”. Now in her mid-50s, and decades out of the workforce, she had minimal earning capacity he said.
The wife and children had relied on the husband “for his expertise in producing a good standard of living for them.” But carefree spending had meant the couple were now left without enough money to meet both parties’ needs, the Judge declared.
“It is self-evident that not all the needs of the parties could possibly be met in full, or even substantially, from the available resources so the parties’ expectations have to be scaled down. Some of their needs will have to be prioritised over others. The priority must be given in my judgement to the housing of the wife and children.”
He awarded almost all the couple’s remaining wealth to the wife, including a lump sum to cover unpaid maintenance and other debts.
The case reached the Court of Appeal this week. But when the husband announced that he planned to proceed without a lawyer, Lady Justice Black ruled that the issues at stake was sufficiently serious for him to receive legal aid. The case will return to the Court of Appeal at a later date.