A divorce court judge awarded a mother of three all of the family assets saying that his priority was to ensure that she and her children were homed and cared for. He then gave her ex-husband a suspended sentence for being in arrears in maintenance and other household debts. The judge's decision to hand over the entire family estate to the ex-wife may surprise residents in the Greater Manchester area, especially in light of her extravagant spending habits.
The couple spent most of their multimillion pound fortune during their 25 year marriage, buying houses, cars and horses, and sending their children to a private school. Their wealth had dwindled to £560,000 and the judge decided that the entire amount was necessary to meet the needs of the children and their mother. Her ex-husband is contesting the judgement in the Court of Appeal and has said that since their divorce her income could have been higher and complained that she had spent £5,000 on a birthday party for herself.
The judge had disagreed with this assessment,saying that the 52-year-old mother had given up her career to stay at home and care for the family and that her ability to earn a suitable wage was limited. He also said that her previous spending habits after the separation were likely to be an attempt to find happiness and pointed out that the remaining family assets had not been enough to meet everyone's needs so all the individuals would need to reduce their spending going forward.
When a couple divorces and cannot agree how the marital assets should be divided, a Family Court judge will make a determination on the divorce settlement. A party to a divorce may find that a sensible of course action is to take advice from a solicitor who has experience with these types of matters.