Divorce is granted to German woman in UK court

A German woman has been granted a divorce after bringing matrimonial proceedings to England after discovering her husband was having an affair.

Catja Thum issued a divorce petition in England even though Oliver Thum had started separate proceedings in Germany.

The couple, both in their 40s, were at the Court of Appeal in May this year.

Judges ruled in favour of Mrs Thum and the divorce was granted at the Central Family Court in High Holborn London.

Court documents cited Mr Thum’s “unreasonable behaviour” as the reason for the divorce and described the marriage as having “broken down irretrievably.”

A decree nisi was formally granted by District Judge Yvonne Gibson in a hearing that lasted less than a minute.

Ex-husband in contempt of court over unpaid £453m divorce bill

A Russian billionaire has not paid his ex-wife “one cent” of the £453m he was ordered to pay, a court in London has heard.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told the family division of the high court that Farkhad Akhmedov was in contempt of court.

In December 2016 Mr Haddon-Cave ordered Mr Akhmedov to pay his e-wife a 41.5% share of his £1bn-plus fortune.

Hodge Malek QC said, “Not a cent has been paid to Ms Akhmedova. It is clear though that assets have been moved.”

Mr Haddon-Cave said, “Mr Akhmedov in any event remains in contempt of this court. It is Ms Akhmedova who is prejudiced by the continued delay in this case.”

Akhmedova was at the hearing, but her ex-husband was not.

The judge had previously criticised Akhmedov, saying it was apparent that he had taken “numerous elaborate steps” to hide his wealth and evade the enforcement of the judgment, including by “concealing his assets in a web of offshore companies.”


Judge rules couple’s Islamic marriage falls under English law

A High Court judge has decided that an estranged couple’s Islamic faith marriage falls within the scope of English matrimonial law.

Solicitor Nasreen Akhter and businessman Mohammed Shabaz Khan, took part in an Islamic wedding ceremony in a London restaurant in 1998.

Mrs Akhter says the nikah ceremony was conducted by an imam before about 150 guests.

She says Mr Khan became her “husband” and he had considered her his “wife”.

Mrs Akhter said the Islamic faith marriage constituted a valid marriage under English law.

Mr Khan, who wants to stop Ms Akhter staging a fight over money in a London court, disagreed.

Mr Justice Williams has ruled that the marriage falls within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act.

However, he has decided that the marriage was “entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage.”

He says the marriage is therefore “void” and says Mrs Akhter is entitled to a decree of nullity.

The judge had analysed the dispute at a recent trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London and has announced his decision in a written ruling.



Unhappy marriage not grounds for divorce

A woman who was seeking a divorce after a 40 year marriage has lost her case.

Supreme court judges “reluctantly” told Tini Owens that she must remain married because a joyless marriage is not adequate grounds for a divorce if one spouse refuses to agree.

Five judges unanimously upheld rulings by a family court and the court of appeal that Tini Owens, 68, must remain married to Hugh Owens, 80.

The supreme court judge Lord Wilson said in the majority ruling, “The appeal of Mrs Owens must be dismissed. She must remain married to Mr Owens for the time being.

“Parliament may wish to consider whether to replace a law which denies to Mrs Owens any present entitlement to a divorce in the above circumstances.”

Tini first consulted solicitors about a divorce in 2012. Although she had an affair, the couple continued to live together until February 2015.

In May 2015, Tini petitioned for divorce, claiming her husband had prioritised his work over their home life, that their marriage was a loveless one and that she had grown apart from him.

Hugh denied the allegations.

Lord Wilson noted in the judgment that Tini would be able to divorce in 2020, when the couple will have been separated for five years and she will be eligible for a divorce without consent or evidence of fault.






Court rules against excess divorce payments

The Supreme Court has ruled that a man does not have to increase the maintenance payments to his former wife, 16 years after their divorce.

Last year Graham Mills was ordered by the Court of Appeal to increase monthly maintenance payments to his former wife, Maria, from £1,100 per month to £1,441 for life as she was “unable to support her basic needs.”

However, the Supreme Court has overturned that decision, saying it was Mrs Mill’s decisions that left her without capital and increased the cost of her basic needs.

After their divorce settlement in 2002, Mrs Mills was given a lump sum to buy a house mortgage-free. She managed her finances poorly and “unwisely” traded up to live in more upmarket properties, leaving her with a mortgage and without any remaining capital.

Mrs Mills is subsequently living in rented accommodation and asked for her maintenance payments to be increased.

Ex-wife wants former husband jailed over £2m divorce debt after he spent £80,000 on his latest wedding

A woman says she wants her ex-husband jailed after he spent more than £80,000 on his latest wedding even though he claimed he cannot afford to pay her.

Sarah Rogan said her ex-husband Grant Rogan should be committed to prison for breaching an agreement made following the breakdown of their 10-year marriage.

Ms Rogan has suggested that Mr Rogan is wilfully refusing to pay the money he owes which amounts to more than £2 million.

Mr Rogan, 63, claimed he cannot afford to pay his ex-wife, despite spending more than £80,000 on his latest wedding.

A judge analysed preliminary issues in the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Mr Justice Holman indicated that decisions would be made after a further hearing later in the year.

He said Mr Rogan had agreed to pay Ms Rogan, who was Mr Rogan’s second wife, £5 million in instalments four years ago.

Mr Rogan had also agreed to hand over £8,000 a month alimony pending the full payment of the £5 million.

Mr Justice Holman said, “On the face of it, it is very contumelious. To fail to pay wife number two but to go out and spend large amounts of money on wife number three. The clear inference is that the husband chose to prioritise making considerable expenditure on these two weddings rather than pay the maintenance.”


Ex-wife receives £115MILLION in one of UK’s biggest ever divorce settlements

An ex-wife has been granted £115million in one of the UK’s biggest ever divorce settlements.

The woman and her former husband cannot be named for legal reasons after Justice Baker concluded there was “little if any” public interest in identifying the chief executive of a company behind a “very well-known product.”

The case was heard at private family court hearings in London.

Justice Baker said the ex-wife wanted a £230 million lump sum but her businessman ex-husband, who is in his early 50s, offered just £20 million.

The judge said, “Their story is therefore typical of countless other couples whose cases come before the family court.

“What makes their case unusual is that the husband is an extremely successful businessman.

“Although he is not himself a well-known public figure, his products are widely used by millions of people across the world.”

Lawyers representing them argued that publicity would lead to a “serious interference” in their everyday life.

Lord Chief Justice highlights online divorce scheme in speech

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett delivered a speech on ‘the age of reform’, at the fifth BAILII lecture.

He discussing the courts modernisation programme and highlighted the online divorce pilot scheme, saying that it was ‘working well.’

“The (online divorce) pilot has now moved to general availability since 1 May. Over 600 applications were received in the first week and a total of 2,600 as of this Monday. In the paper-based world, an uncontested divorce requires a petitioner to fill out a form and file it with the court. Many people fill them in themselves others pay lawyers to do it for them. They are not difficult but the rejection rate illustrates how lawyers sometimes fail to appreciate that what is our meat and drink proves indigestible for others. 40% of those forms have to be sent back to the applicant. They are rejected because they had not been completed properly. The form checking is done by District Judges or fee paid deputies. It is mind-numbing work which does not call for the skill of a judge or the cost involved in deploying a judge to such work. But a 40% rejection rate also wastes the time of the petitioners and of HMCTS in processing the forms. The paper form takes a petitioner about an hour to complete. The new online process takes roughly 25 minutes; less than half the time. And it is designed (as with so much we all do online) to prevent a person moving on to the next stage unless the earlier stage has been completed fully and correctly. The rejection rate is now only 0.5%. The benefits all round are enormous. The President of the Family Division has been singing its praises at every turn. It is the shape of things to come.’

Supreme Court rules in divorce maintenance case

The Supreme Court considered whether a businessman should increase maintenance to his former wife 16 years after their divorce.

Last year Graham Mills was ordered by the Court of Appeal to increase monthly maintenance payments to his former wife, Maria, from £1,100 per month to £1,441 for life as she was “unable to support her basic needs.”

Following their divorce settlement in 2002, Mrs Mills was given a lump sum to buy a house mortgage-free but had “unwisely” traded up to live in more upmarket properties. She was subsequently left with a mortgage and without any remaining capital.

She is presently living in rented accommodation and wants her maintenance payments to be increased.

Mr Mills is asking the UK’s highest court to reduce the maintenance payments. Mr Mills has since remarried and is arguing that he wants to move on with his life.

Courts Service to use online divorce pilot to develop digital family law service

The Courts Service will develop its new online divorce family law service following the online divorce pilot.

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have already started enabling people to issue divorce petitions online.

HMCTS divorce service manager Adam Lennon said, “Now that the application part of the divorce process is online we will, over the coming months make the rest of the process digital – including the response from the other spouse to the application and the final certificate of divorce – making the whole process simpler to understand and navigate.

“We are also currently working with legal professionals to develop an online application for them to use which will allow them to submit a petition on behalf of a client online.”

It is hoped that the same approach will be adopted in future to all family services.