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Court Battle Questions Discrimination on Mothers Whose Careers Have Stalled

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Simon Leach, Director of Family Law Group comments that a Court of Appeal battle brought by the former wife of a millionaire accountant, could lead to more women battling over the money of their ex-husbands.

He said that the case of Julia Hammans, who is battling her ex Nicholas Hammans is being watched with great interest by family lawyers throughout the country.

When the couple married in the early 1980s Mrs Hammans, then a financial director of a department store earned a comparable salary to her then husband.

However, in the years whilst she gave up work to raise a family, her husband’s career took over and he now earns almost £1m a year, whilst her income is less than a tenth of his and now she says she is being forced to sell the family home, which she has lived in since they split around 10 years ago.

In her legal challenge, she claims the settlement was an unfair divide of the family wealth.

Earlier this year a judge ordered she sell her £1.75m six-bedroom home to help part fund her future after she had fought for another £2.6m from her ex-husband and was awarded just £400,000.

“There does appear to be an issue in this case as to whether the award should include an amount to “compensate” the wife for lost career opportunities as the reduced award will clearly affect her future standard of living. The question for the Court of Appeal is whether this is fair,” Simon Leach commented.

“It’s often the way that the woman suffers financially, but regardless of how the judges rule, this subject is a complex one, as each individual situation is different. However, it raises a debate about mums whose careers have suffered in order to bring up a family,” he added.

“The division of finances following divorce is a prickly issue, and I’m sure we will be hearing more about this. The judges will give their ruling at a future date not yet decided.