Judge’s ruling a dire warning for divorce dating, says legal expert

The ruling of a top Judge has sent a ‘dire warning’ to divorcing woman dating before the financial settlement with their ex has been finalised warns one of the region’s top family lawyers

Kathryn Hicklin, of QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank said the ruling by Mr Justice Mostyn, who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his split with Heather Mills shows just how delicately 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 that women risked losing their share because some judges might assume they would set up home with their new partners, thereby assuring a sound financial future.

Justice Mostyn explained the dilemma following a family court hearing in Swansea where a couple in their 40s with an adopted child battled over the husband’s substantial wealth.

Although the man in question had virtually no income and his wife worked as a journalist, 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.”

“Relationships like this are a significant fly in the ointment in the assessment of need,” he added.

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.

Ms Hicklin, whose firm have offices in Coalville and Hinckley said the ruling which has caused some surprise but shows how carefully some have to tread while in a dispute over finances.

“Only the fullness of 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,” she said. “However, it has caused a shock 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.”

Anyone concerned with any aspects surrounding divorce or any other legal matters should contact QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank on 01530 510666.

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