Woman who abandoned career not entitled to compensation.
A woman who abandoned her career to be “looked after” by her millionaire husband has lost her bid to gain an extra £1million in assets in their divorce.
In a £3 million case, Mrs MacFarlane, who left a career in teaching when she got married, claimed that her husband should compensate her for her lost career and buy her a home similar to the £1million country cottage they had shared together. Mrs MacFarlane had given up her "promising" career at a Derbyshire school while still in her 40s in 2005 when her new husband promised he would "look after" them both, a court heard. But eight years later he asked her for a divorce.
In the original divorce court proceedings, the judge said Mrs MacFarlane should have half the proceeds of the sale of the house, plus a £140,000 lump sum from her ex-husband. But at the Court of Appeal, her barrister said it was wrong that Dr MacFarlane would not be compensating her for her years off the career ladder. It was argued that she had lost thousands in pay, career development, promotions and pension entitlement after leaving full-time work. But for her giving up full-time work, she would now be earning up to £100,000-a-year, and would be entitled to a generous final salary pension. Instead, she is limited to working as a supply teacher, earning far less and without the benefit of the teachers' pension fund. The Court of Appeal, however, rejected the claim, saying that the decision for Mrs MacFarlane to leave work had been a joint one and had worked well for the two of them both practically and emotionally. It had allowed the couple more freedom to enjoy their time together but had not had the effect of benefitting Dr MacFarlane financially by freeing him up to do more work of his own.
William Donnelly comments “the courts are taking an increasingly pragmatic approach towards resolving these types of issue and the standard of living during a marriage is one factor to be taken into account, but is increasingly being seen as only one in a number of relevant factors.”
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