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Should divorce mean a meal ticket for life?

It’s been just over a year since the story of Graham Mills and his ex-wife Maria Mills hit the headlines, following the Court of Appeal’s controversial decision that Mr. Mills should provide Maria Mills with more money, after she had spent the original lump sum she had received in 2002.

 

A quick recap: Graham and Maria Mills

The couple divorced over 15 years ago, back in 2002. Maria Mills received £230,000 (this was nearly all of the couple’s “liquid capital” at the time), while Graham Mills kept his business. Maria Mills then reportedly made some “unwise” investments, which ultimately resulted in her being left “without any of the capital”.

In 2017, the Court of Appeal told Graham Mills that he must support Maria Mills for life and increase the monthly payments to Maria Mills from £1,100 to £1,441.

divorce

 

A lifetime of maintenance payments

Whilst at first glance this case does seem a little unfair, there is more going on when we dig little deeper. Maria Mills, for example, reportedly has health problems which had impacted upon her ability to work.

Additionally, it was mentioned that the money she had been left with was not enough to buy a house that she thought would be “good enough” for herself and their child.

Graham Mills, on the other hand, had kept the business, which could provide him with an income.

What was also interesting about this case, is that it was Graham Mills who had gone to the courts to try and stop the maintenance payments he was making to Maria Mills, not the other way around.

 

Appeal to the Supreme Court

Back in August 2017, Graham Mills was given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Mr. Mills started a crowdfunding page to pay the costs of this, where he argued that the court decision against him had set a “dangerous precedent” and had “set maintenance awards back 20 years”.

Two months ago, Mr. Mills announced that he had raised “sufficient funds” to pay the “high court fees”.

 

The future of lifetime spousal maintenance payments

The Court of Appeal’s decision in this case caused (and is still causing) much controversy.

Up until this point, it had seemed that there was much more of a trend towards shorter term, temporary maintenance orders. Indeed, back in 2015, a case hit the headlines when a judge told the ex-wife of a millionaire to find work.

There is no doubt that the outcome of Graham Mills’ appeal will be watched very closely, by those both inside and outside of the legal profession.

 

Do you need help with your divorce options?

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues, including:

 

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on your divorce options

For more information on your divorce options, call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

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Please contact us for more details.

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14th May 2018

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