Law Management Blog

Just another Blog for Lawyers

Loophole ‘robs’ spurned wife of husband’s assets

leave a comment »

A British woman who lived with her ex-husband in the UK for nine years has been denied access to his £1.2m pension after the court’s ruled she cannot apply for a divorce in Britain’s courts, reports the Telegraph.

Sara Pell married her husband, Duncan, in South Wales after meeting in 1988. The couple spent nine happy years in the UK while raising two children as Mr Pell’s career went from strength to strength with a leading steel manufacturer, who granted him a substantial pension upon leaving the company.

But once the family relocated to France, cracks began to appear in the relationship. The marriage had reached its conclusion after Mrs Pell discovered her husband’s affair with a 28-year-old Ukrainian.

Mrs Pell managed to file for divorce through the British courts but her soon to be ex-husband’s counter claim to keep proceedings in front of French judges was successful, severely hampering the pay-out available to Mrs Pell.

After almost a year of legal challenges, the High Court threw its weight behind Mr Pell ruling that the French courts cannot include his English-based pension when deciding the divorce settlement.

If the couple’s divorce were to be held in the UK, Mrs Pell could expect an equal share of her husband’s pension combined with 50% of his existing assets and a share of his current salary as maintenance.

But the French courts are far more frugal when it comes to dividing estates between spouses and Mrs Pell is now facing a minimal maintenance fee and access to only the French assets held by the couple.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Mrs Pell said: “My situation is horrendous. We were married in the UK, but because I’m not being allowed to divorce him in the UK I face losing a fair share of what should rightfully be mine.”

Since separating, Mrs Pell has moved her children back to Wales and has struggled financially to support the family. But Mr Pell, who has moved to Ukraine with his younger partner, has expressed delight for the High Court’s decision.

“It’s only right that the French courts should decide on the matter. We had been living in France for many years, our children spoke French and were in school in France, and that’s where all our assets were held,” he told the Telegraph.

“Sara will get her fair share of maintenance and the French courts will decide how much.”

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: