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Divorce and Financial Settlements

‘I may be a failed artist and I may never have worked during our marriage…but I want £85k a year maintenance from you!’

 

…says the Husband to his ex-wife, as he claims ‘gender bias’ by the Courts, when it comes to financial settlements in divorce.

This is the ridiculous position that is being advanced by Rupert Nightingale against his former wife, Kristen Turner, following the demise of their seven year marriage.

Quite rightly, in my view, the Judge in this matter, ruled that Mr Nightingale, a house husband for the entire duration of the marriage, who was supported by his millionaire wife should get out there and get a job.  At only 42 years of age, the thought of him being supported for life is quite simply absurd! The final settlement awarded to him included a £300,000 lump sum and £50,000 year in maintenance.  This alone makes me feel sick – but, Mr Nightingale and his legal team have much tougher stomachs than me and are demanding that this simply is not enough for him and did not reflect the ‘standard of living enjoyed during the marriage’.

Mr Nightingale, throughout the marriage, wished to pursue his artistic endeavours, including freelance photography.  His wife, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, earning a salary of £420,000 supported his ambition and career aspirations and so whilst happily married, a decision was made that she would be the main breadwinner of the household, enabling him time to pursue his ambition and at the same time, look after their daughter.  But as the marriage has now broken down, where does the justification lie in continuing to support him to the level they enjoyed when married.  He is 42!  Quite correctly, the Judge, Mark Everall QC, indicated that Mr Nightingale needed to get a job and earn a living.  But Mr Nightingale is not accepting this: ‘There was a little bit of gender bias going on with how the judgment was made’ – he told the London Evening Standard. ‘Calculations were made on a salary of a job I did 11 years ago, which I gave up for my family.  Now I’m doing something else. The judgment was unfair and unworkable. It has been a long hard fighting, not of my making. It has been horrid. No one wants to go to the Court of Appeal but it’s necessary to seek a fair outcome.’  Poor Mr Nightingale.  Well, not so poor really, is he?

Judge Everall originally ruled that it was ‘reasonable’ to expect Mr Nightingale to go back to work on a full time basis where he could be expected to earn £36,000 a year, and his maintenance was discounted by that amount.

But no – Mr Nightingale wishes to remain a house husband – on at least a part-time basis (even though he is no longer the main carer of the parties daughter). His legal team are arguing that his ‘wife’s earning capacity was the main family asset and that the husband was entitled to share in the very large surplus’.

My view – this is utter nonsense!  Mr Nightingale needs to step in to the real world and get a job. He was fortunate during the course of the marriage to be given the opportunity to advance his artistic ambition.  It did not do him any good – perhaps he needs to accept he may not be as good as he believes he is. The marriage is over – how is it justifiable that he should receive £85,000 per annum, in maintenance?  This is considerably over 100k as a gross salary – an amount that would be incredibly difficult for him to attain in employment.  Why therefore, is it acceptable to expect an ex-spouse to keep him maintained to this level after only a 7 year marriage?

Whether this was a wife advancing this argument or a husband, my views would be the same.  Reality needs to kick in: fair settlements meeting fair needs taking in to account the length of the marriage is what is needed.

I sound annoyed, I know – but I see this day in, day out and mankind never ceases to amaze me.

This case continues.  Permission to appeal has been allowed and I will keep you updated.

Rupinder Bains

Managing Director

Pinder Reaux & Associates Ltd