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Surrey man ‘must support ex-wife for life’

A 50 year-old Surrey man must provide financial support for his ex-wife for life, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The couple married in 1988 and later had a son who is now an adult. They separated in 2001 and their divorce was finalised in 2002. At the time, the man’s now 51 year-old wife was awarded £230,000. This included almost all of the couple’s liquid capital except for the husband’s business, the BBC reports. He was also ordered to pay her £1,100 each month in maintenance.

However the Court of Appeal has now ordered these monthly payments to increase to £1,441 because his former wife is “unable to meet her basic needs”.

During a recent hearing Lord Justice Longmore and Sir Ernest Ryder were told that the wife had made a series of “unwise” investments. She relocated from a house in Weybridge in Surrey to a flat in Wimbledon in south-west London. From there she moved into a luxury apartment in Battersea in a Victorian mansion block.

The wife’s barrister claimed that after the Battersea apartment was sold, she was left “without any of the capital” from the sale and had to move into rented accommodation back in Weybridge. A former Notting Hill estate agent, the wife now works two days a week as a beauty therapist.

Following the couple’s divorce 15 years ago, the man’s former spouse had been left to care for the couple’s then-young child and she did not have enough money to buy a home that was “good enough” her barrister told the Court.

The ex-husband simply wanted to move on with his life. In the time since the 2002 divorce, he remarried and moved to Guildford. His barrister argued that the man should not have to “pick up the tab” for his ex-wife so long after their marriage ended.

In the end Lord Justice Longmore and Sir Ernest Ryder ruled in the wife’s favour. They said this increased level of spousal maintenance should continue indefinitely, or “until a further order of the court” is made.

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. keith says:

    Sounds like this guy got well Fleeced.

  2. Edward says:

    There are only three words for this sort of thing: Bloody Out Rage-ous.
    It is almost impossible to believe that, even sitting in the court, hearing all the evidence, most men would feel that this was a just ruling.
    Presumably the judges are merely “following the law”. If it is really that, then it is high time the LAW was changed.
    There is one other word that fits the judgement, too.

  3. spinner says:

    Orders like this end the pretense that the current system is anywhere near fit for purpose in a modern society where women are generally treated equally. Interesting that it made the national paper headlines as well and has shocked most people that this is even possible in this day and age.

  4. Andy says:

    I have only one word to describe this debacle…
    How on earth can a court after 15 years make a ex father pay for his ex wife’s incompetence of housing purchases…
    What judge would rule that…you could not make it up if you tried….

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