Around 6 years ago, Charles Villiers filed for divorce from his wife Emma Villiers in Scotland (where they had spent most of their married life) having separated in 2012, after 18 years of marriage. Mrs Villiers responded to the divorce by way of an application for maintenance in England (where the parties married and met and Mrs Villiers returned to after their separation) and an issue for the Court was whether or not the English Court had jurisdiction to hear Mrs Villiers’ application given that divorce proceedings had already commenced in Scotland. The importance was that England and Scotland approach the issue of maintenance differently. Following very complex legal arguments and an appeal to the Supreme Court by Mr Villiers, the Supreme Court held that the English Court could and would consider Mrs Villiers’ claim for maintenance. However the claim was recently dismissed with the Judge finding that Mr Villiers could not afford to pay maintenance. The Judge found that
‘she has conducted her pursuit of the husband in this litigation in a completely disproportionate manner and has wilfully blinded herself to the reality that the vast amounts of inherited funds that she believes that the husband has at his disposal are, in fact, a chimera’
This case demonstrates the importance of seeking, timely legal advice in divorce cases involving cross-border elements as not acting fast enough and follow the correct procedures could have serious implications on which Court is able to deal with the financial aspects of divorce.
The divorce battle over six years has been viscous with Mr Villiers recently accusing his former wife of lying about her age when they married. He claims she married him under false pretences because she was older than she let on and passed her child bearing years which affected the size of the family they went on to have.
The long running case was said by the Judge to have financially ruined the parties driven by a hatred for each other.