The ruling of one of the UK’s top judges has sent a ‘huge warning’ to divorcing women dating before the financial settlement with their ex has been finalised.
The ruling by Mr Justice Mostyn, who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his much publicised divorce from Heather Mills, shows just how carefully some may have to tread.
In a written ruling the High Court judge warned wives saying dating before divorce was a ‘fly in the ointment’ for family court judges asked to decide how much money husbands should give wives following marriage splits.
He added said that women risked losing their share because some judges might assume they would set up home with their new partners, thereby assuring a firm financial future.
Justice Mostyn explained the dilemma following a family court hearing in Swansea where a couple with an adopted child battled over the husband’s substantial wealth.
Although the man in question had virtually no income and his wife worked, he inherited millions from his family.
They had been together for well over a decade but two years ago the marriage turned sour and during the lengthy legal arguments over the matrimonial money the wife started a relationship with another man, but neglected to tell the court.
However, the husband’s legal team discovered the relationship, which dealt a huge blow to her case, and resulted in a £250,000 pay out, a small portion of his wealth.
The judge reasoned: “She says she is not going to live with him, although it is perfectly clear the relationship is strong.”
The judge added that if the wife was assuredly single then he doubted whether the payment would be enough, yet he could not ignore the relationship.
This ruling has caused some surprise but shows how carefully some have to tread while in a dispute over finances.
Only time will show if this ruling signals a new approach by courts or if it is simply a one off based on the facts of this particular case. However, it has caused a commotion and whatever way one may look at it; this just shows that judges will take all aspects of personal lives into account when making decisions.
Husbands going through the initial phase of a divorce would be interested in this as many may be keen to find out if there is another partner who might be there to fill a ‘financial void’ and reduce the cost of maintenance.
Anyone concerned with any aspects surrounding divorce or any other legal matters should contact Ellis Hass & Co on 0121 709 1918.