Irish court rejects divorce pay increase

The Irish Times – Jan 26, 2017

The Irish Court of Appeal has rejected a woman’s bid for an increased divorce settlement from her wealthy ex-husband.

In 2005, the couple went through a judicial separation. Much like a divorce, this is a court order which defines the terms by which a married couple separate such as where will their children live or how much maintenance should be paid from one spouse to another. Couples can apply for a judicial separation on the same grounds they would for a divorce – for example, adultery or unreasonable behaviour. However, unlike a divorce, a judicial separation does not signify the legal end of a marriage.

After they got one, the wife was awarded €3.3 million (£2.87 million) in order to buy a new house. The money came from the husband’s assets, which were valued at around €30 million (£26 million). He was also ordered to pay her €240,000 (£208,900) a year for spousal maintenance, €80,000 (£69,600) per year to support their children, €125,000 (£108,800) each year in school fees and €628,000 (£546,600) to cover her legal costs. So in total he was ordered to pay her €445,000 (£387,000) every year on top of the €3.9 million (£3.4 million) for a home and legal fees.

In 2012, the couple sought a divorce to officially bring their marriage to an end. Between the separation and the divorce, the wife had bought a house in southeast Ireland for €5.1 million (£4.4 million) and spent €1 million (£870,000) on repairs. This was financed in part by a €2.5 million (£2.1 million) loan from the Bank of Ireland which she had been advised against by an accountant. Despite the money spent on the house, it soon fell into disrepair and had to be sold off by the bank.

At the conclusion of the divorce proceedings, the judge reduced her annual maintenance to €50,000 (£43,500) so she launched an appeal against the reduced award.

At the Court of Appeal, Justice Gerard Hogan said that the wife’s financial situation was “precarious” as she still owed a lot of money. He did not allow her appeal against the maintenance order and declared that the initial €3.3 million was enough for her to have bought “a fine country house”. While the situation with the property she did buy was “an unfortunate tale” her former husband should not have to deal with the impact of her “poor and improvident investment” he ruled.

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