An aristocrat has launched an appeal against his wife’s maintenance and accused her of “divorce tourism”.
The couple had been together for 17 years and lived in an 18th century manor in Dunbartonshire, Scotland. However, when they separated in 2012, the publishing baron’s wife moved to Notting Hill in West London with their daughter. The husband officially filed for divorce in Scotland in 2014 but three months later his wife sought an award of spousal maintenance through the English courts.
The 54 year-old husband, who is distantly related to the Duchess of Cornwall, said his wife was “trying it on” in the English courts as the system south of the border is more generous. Under Scottish law, inherited wealth does not count towards a couple’s assets and is therefore not included in the courts’ maintenance decisions. Such payments are often limited to just three years there, as opposed to England where they can potentially be made for life.
Last year, Mrs Justice Parker ruled that the wife was habitually resident in England so the courts here had the right to make a maintenance ruling. The judge then ordered the husband to pay £5,000 per month once the divorce was finalised.
However, the husband sought permission to challenge this decision in the Court of Appeal and has now been allowed to do so. His barrister said that if this decision is not overturned, England would become “the maintenance capital of the United Kingdom” and would encourage people from other parts of the country to relocate in order to get a better divorce settlement.
“A judgement in favour of the wife is effectively rewarding her behaviour in moving from Scotland to England.”
The date for the husband’s full appeal hearing has yet to be scheduled.