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Man must pay ex-wife more than £200,000 - 25 years after divorce

A woman is to receive £215,000 from her former husband even though they have been divorced for 25 years.

The couple, who had no children together, had been married for 13 years when they separated in 1985. He then remarried and now has two children with his second wife.

He retired last year and applied to have his payments to his former wife dropped because his income had reduced. However, his ex-wife submitted that if the payments were to stop, he should pay her a lump sum instead so they could achieve a clean break.

When reaching his decision, the judge halved the value of some of the man’s assets to reflect the interests of his second wife. This included his pension which would be the main source of his income.

The judge also took into account that the first wife had received an inheritance which she could use to support her needs. He then granted the order allowing the man to stop the payments. The wife’s claim for a lump sum payment was rejected.

The wife appealed on the grounds that she would suffer undue hardship and that the judge had overestimated the interests and claims of the second wife.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled in her favour. It held that the judge had been wrong to give priority to the claims of the second wife and that the man was in principle obliged to continue making the payments.

The judge had also been wrong to conclude that the first wife could adjust to the sudden loss of payments without undue hardship.

The court ruled that the man should pay his first wife £14,000 a year until he had paid a total sum of £215,000.

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