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Barrister’s ex-wife wins new divorce payout 25 years after divorce

Wednesday April 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm

The ex-wife of a leading barrister has been awarded almost quarter of a million pounds in maintenance – more than 25-years after their divorce, the Telegraph reports.

Philippa Vaughan, 66, won the lump sum after claiming she needed £48,000 a year to live on in order to avoid undue hardship. It came just months after David Vaughan QC, aged 71, had gone to court to get it to lower £27,000-a-year maintenance payments to his wife which had been awarded 25 years earlier. He claimed that upon retiring, she should not longer be his financial responsibility.

Mrs Vaughan lives in a £1 million listed property in Hammersmith, west London, and inherited £700,000 from her parents. She challenged the decision to stop the payments and applied for a one off payment of £560,000, later reducing her claim to £341,000.

At the Court of Appeal last month, Lord Justice Wilson awarded Mrs Vaughan a lump-sum payment of £215,000 explaining that it had been “plainly wrong” to conclude she could adjust to the ending of her maintenance without undue hardship.

The couple, who married in 1967 and divorced in 1985, are thought to have spent more than £200,000 in legal costs fighting the case.

“I’m surprised and saddened by this case,” commented Andrew Woolley. “It is sad that two intelligent people should spend a reported £200,000 in legal fees when that could have been put to much better use, although in fairness I imagine Mrs Vaughan does not agree with me!

“I am surprised that there wasn’t a better mechanism for a clean break settlement at the start of the case. Maintenance to an ex-wife normally ends (at the latest) when she remarries or lives with someone. Some men take a gamble that she will not live alone so agree to regular payments rather than an up-front capital sum. It is a dangerous gamble as has been seen here and needs careful advice.”

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