Woman who spent divorce payout to be maintained for life

By Lenore Rice

A woman has successfully requested an increase in the monthly maintenance payments she receives from the man she divorced 15 years ago, after spending the £230,000 lump sum payment she was awarded in their divorce settlement.

Maria Mills, aged 51, was given almost all of her and her husband's liquid capital when they divorced, and he kept his business interests. Mr Mills was also ordered to pay £1,100 a month maintenance payments to his ex-wife to include maintenance costs for their son. Mrs Mills moved properties on a number of occasions, and eventually found herself in so much mortgage debt that she was struggling financially, and is now renting a property.

She applied to the court to have her maintenance payments increased and was unsuccessful, but the Court of Appeal ruled in her favour and ordered that the payments be increased to £1,441, and be paid out for life. Sir Ernest Ryder said that the woman had "unwisely invested" but that she had not acted unreasonably in getting a mortgage to purchase a house she felt was suitable for her and her young child."

Mr Mill's divorce solicitor said that his client felt that he "should not be the insurer against the wife's poor financial decisions" which he played no part in.

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