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Woman wins divorce settlement after 22 years of separation

Date:16 JUN 2009

A woman has been awarded £220,000 in a ground-breaking divorce settlement after having been separated from her husband for 22 years. The couple had been married for 4 years but never sought a formal divorce.

The woman's solicitor, Mr Qureshi, told The Times that she did not seek an earlier divorce because, at the time, "the child was very young, and she did not want all the anguish of a messy divorce". Mr Qureshi also admitted that another reason for seeking a divorce was that the former husband had come into a considerable inheritance.

Her lawyers claimed that due to the husband's nominal provision for the support of their child after they were separated, and his lack of emotional and financial support during the marriage, the woman had suffered a considerable financial disadvantage.

The court agreed with the wife's claim that she required a fund to supply her with long-term security for housing and pension provision. Although the inheritance had occurred after the separation, it was the only real asset in the case, and as the wife had a "need" it would necessarily have to be met from the inherited asset. The court awarded the woman sufficient to house herself but also left the husband enough to buy another property.

Mr Qureshi argued that "if the need can be met without injustice to the husband, and without preventing him from meeting his own needs, then the court should strive to meet the need of the wife."