Friday, 8 June 2007

Husband leading divorce pay fight

A Shropshire solicitor has warned wealthy husbands look set to fight back following a rush of multi-million pound divorce settlements.

Nadia Davis, who leads the Family Law Team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said the well-publicised cases had led to several wives becoming millionaires in their own right.

But now, it seems some of the husbands are planning to take action, and Nadia said many others could follow suit.

“It has been announced that Alan Miller, who was instructed to pay his wife £5 million – even though they had only been married for 18 months – has decided to challenge the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“His original case and its result set the standard for this kind of case, and it has had far-reaching effects in divorce courts all over the UK,” said Nadia.

The Court decided no matter how long a couple had been married, the starting point for dividing the assets should be a 50-50 split.
“And although they said Mrs Miller did not ‘need’ 50% of the assets, they decided that was irrelevant, and that the assets should be divided equally.

“The same rules were applied to the case of Mr and Mrs Charman, and paved the way for her £48 million payout, despite the fact that Mrs Charman had run the home and it was Mr Charman who had built up the major share of their assets.”

Nadia said Mr Miller claimed that the law was now “confused and unpredictable” as family court judges were given too much discretion. He also claims the payout to his former wife had breached his human rights.

“Family Law teams such as ours will be following this appeal with great interest, as the European Court’s decision could have massive implications for day-to-day divorce hearings.
“District Judges work very hard to reach sensible decisions based on what is fair and reasonable, and they will no doubt be pleased to receive clearer guidance on the approach they should be taking.”