Woman must pay former husband €1.6m as part of divorce settlement, judge rules
Posted on 3rd November 2022 at 22:36
The judge equalised the former couple’s pensions, ordering the woman to contribute €470,000 to the man’s pension pot
A High Court judge has ruled that a woman must pay her former husband €900,000 for his share of the family home, a lump sum of €280,000, and a portion of her pension worth over €460,000 as part of their divorce settlement.
The ruling was made by Mr Justice John Jordan, who granted the pair a decree of divorce. He rejected the woman’s claims that her former husband had assaulted, abused and threatened her.
In a recently published ruling the judge said the pair, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had for some years enjoyed a happy marriage but differences arose some years ago after the woman became ill.
While she made a good recovery, the upheaval and stress of her illness caused a fracture in their relationship.
She felt her husband did not travel with her on her journey during that time, the judge said. The man said that during that time his wife made a decision to change her life and things “went slowly downhill” from there.
The judge said the court was being asked to decide how the matrimonial assets of €6.5 million to €7 million should be dealt with. Both parties were successful in their jobs, were on good salaries, and had invested their money well, he said.
The man had a good income, but it was only “a fraction” of what his former wife earned when she excelled in her career.
The judge said the difference in earnings was described by the man as “chalk and cheese”.
While the relationship ended some years ago, the parties remained living in the family home, said the judge. They slept in separate rooms, used different sitting rooms, and had generally tried to avoid each other.
The man did not want to leave the property, while the woman wanted him to move out.
The judge said that the man did not want to leave his children behind, nor did he want to become “a weekend dad”.
The court was satisfied to make an order for joint custody with a shared parenting regime to be put in place.
The husband was “very hands-on at home” and did a lot of the cooking and domestic chores.
He noted the woman had offered to pay the man 50 per cent of the net value of the family home, which she would continue to pay the mortgage on, and she offered to pay him 15 per cent of her pension.
The woman made serious allegations of misconduct against the man, which the court must examine. The judge said a spouse, and anyone involved in an intimate relationship, is “entitled to be treated with the complete respect by the other partner”.
In this case, the judge said, the woman’s allegations of assault, abuse and threats had not been made out, and the court was not satisfied to make orders in the proceedings
No credible or convincing evidence was produced to prove that the husband is or was violent or a person whom the woman feared. There was no independent evidence that supported the women’s allegations and the evidence produced by her was not persuasive, the judge said.
He said the man had accepted losing his temper on occasions and, while the man let himself down when that happened, the judge was satisfied the man was not violent.
In the circumstances, the court was not prepared to make any orders that would trigger a sanction under Section 20 (2) of the 1995 Family Law Act.
In his ruling, the judge said the court must afford equal recognition to the value of the contribution made by the former couple during the marriage. However, this does not mandate an exercise of identifying and ensuring an equal division of the matrimonial assets.
He ruled the woman should retain the family home and buy out the man’s share, which he valued as being €900,000. She will continue to pay the mortgage.
The woman’s pension was worth €1.6 million, while the man’s was worth €659,000. The judge equalised their pensions by giving him a 29.4 per cent share or €470,000 of her total pension funds.
Mr Justice Jordan said the woman will have to arrange finance or use her savings and investments to buy out the man’s interest in the family home. Nevertheless, her assets are substantial, and her financial position is secure, he said.
Having considered the evidence, the judge said it was proper to make a lump sum in favour of the former husband, having regard to the total assets in the woman’s hands.
He directed her to pay her former spouse €280,000 before the end of January 2024.
The judge also expressed a view that both sides should pay their own substantial legal costs.
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