[UK] Lord's decission about "the meaning of marriage"

Reply Thu 25 May, 2006 05:05 am
Good news for women who put family first!

House of Lords ("Law Lords) - Judgement: Judgments - Miller (Appellant) v. Miller (Respondent) and McFarlane (Appellant) v. McFarlane (Respondent)

The ex-wives of two high-earning men won the right to a large chunk of their former husbands' wealth yesterday when Britain's highest court laid down principles that are expected to guide divorce lawyers for a generation. "For the first time, the House of Lords ruled that wives who give up potentially lucrative careers to raise children are entitled to compensation for their sacrifice in cases where the family's resources exceed their needs," the paper's legal editor, Clare Dyer, writes.

The Guardian's report
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 25 May, 2006 05:05 am
The wives

Melissa Miller:
Mrs Miller, 36, an American born PR executive, was married to fund manager Alan Miller for two years, nine months, after a four-year engagement. It ended after Mr Miller met another woman.
Initial ruling: Mr Miller was ordered to pay off the mortgage on their £2.3m home and hand it to his wife, and give her a £2.7m lump sum. He appealed,
New award: Mrs Miller can keep the £5m.

Julia McFarlane
Mrs McFarlane, 46, a City solicitor, was married to tax accountant Kenneth McFarlane for 16 years. She gave up her career following the birth of her three children in 1991.
Initial ruling: Given the couple's £1.5m home and £250,000 a year for five years in 2001. Mr McFarlane appealed and this was reduced to £180,000 a year.
New award: £250,000 a year for life.

Comment in the Guardian

The Times says "all couples were advised last night to sign prenuptial agreements before getting married". Family lawyers, it says, argue that wealthy young men and women would be better off not getting married at all after the court ruled that a wife may be entitled to up to half the assets created during even a short marriage
Report in the Times

The Financial Times, perhaps sensing that the story will interest many among its high-earning readership, devotes considerable space to the ruling. "For the first time the court said that compensation should be one of the three guiding principles in determining a fair financial settlement when a marriage ends; for example, to a wife who has given up her career prospects in order to look after the home and children. The other principles were needs and a presumption that the fruits of the marriage should be shared equally, unless there was good reason to the contrary."
FT online


Amanda Platell, writing in the Mail, believes the lords' decision was "shamefully short-sighted" and that women will ultimately will pay a high price. "The pendulum has swung too far," she writes, and the law is now being interpreted in such a way "that it is becoming grossly unfair to men". Men fear that they are "little more than walking wallets for life".
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Reply Thu 25 May, 2006 05:14 am
This is NEW in Europe? The fella's shoulda had a heads up after the Anna Nicole Smith debacle here.

Personally, I think it's a rather "duh" moment for the judges to finally be recognizing in 2006 that a woman that stays home IS working. Even being presented at cocktail parties as the wife of so and so is work for the wife of a wealthy business man.

And, if it makes people think twice about marriage, then good. It's a shame a court would need to remind them to take their vows seriously.

Julia and Melissa - You go girls!) Very Happy
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Lord Ellpus
Reply Thu 25 May, 2006 05:22 am
Hear, hear!
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