Judge urges agreement on divorce case lasting longer than the marriage

By Lenore Rice

A judge has urged a couple to reach agreement on their divorce settlement as the case has now lasted six times longer than the actual marriage itself.

Marilyn Levesque and Damien Hancox were married for 5 months, and Miss Levesque is said to have ran up a £230,000 legal bill. The extent of Mr Hancox's wealth has been an issue during the divorce case, with Miss Levesque's legal team accusing him of failing to disclose financial information.

The couple are said to have lived a very extravagant and expense lifestyle, with £200,000 being spent on their wedding and the same amount being run up on a credit card over 12 months by Mr Hancox. Evidence has been presented to the Family Division of the High Court in London that Mr Hancox, a commodities broker with homes in Ibiza and Verbier, had assets of over £20million in 2007 and Swiss bank accounts in company names, despite declaring himself bankrupt the same year.

The case raises an important issue in divorce cases - how much should an ex-spouse be entitled to after a very short marriage? Ordinarily divorce settlements will look at how the couple pooled their assets, whether one spouse took on duties that enable or assisted the other spouse to accumulate their wealth, and other issues around how wealth was accumulated and spent during the marriage. It is however very difficult for the family law courts to establish any of these things when the marriage was very short.

This case has yet to be concluded but the judge has already urged the couple to reach an agreement, saying "the more money you spend on legal proceedings the less money there will be to share between you at the end of the day."

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.