8 Feb 2017
You might think that an ex-estate agent would be first in line to make astute property purchases. It turns out that this could be like hairdressers’ hair.
The Appeal Court heard a case in which a former estate agent lost money on a series of property purchases after being awarded a divorce settlement.
As a result, her ex-husband, a surveyor, must now up his monthly payments to her and has been told that he must support her for life.
Maria Mills, 51, formerly an estate agent in Notting Hill, was originally awarded £1,100 a month from Graham Mills, 50, after 13 years of marriage. There was also a lump sum of £230,000 – most of the capital that the couple had – on the basis that she could buy herself a home.
The Appeal Court heard that she blew this lump sum and that Mr Mills should now pay her £1,441 per month.
Lord Justice Longmore and Sir Ernest Ryder heard that the couple married in 1988, had a now grown-up son, separated in 2001 after 13 years of marriage and divorced the following year.
The court heard that Mrs Mills had made some “unwise” property investments, moving from a house in Weybridge to a flat in Wimbledon, and then to an apartment in a mansion block in Battersea.
After selling that flat she was left “without any of the capital”, the court was told, and was now living in a rented home.
The court heard that each time she moved, she increased her mortgage liabilities, but failed to make enough profit from the sales.
Frank Feehan, representing Mrs Mills, said she had been left with the responsibility for the couple’s young child and without enough money to buy a house that she considered “good enough”.
He said his client was “unable to meet her basic needs”.
In the ruling, Sir Ernest Ryder said Mr Mills had the ability to make the increased maintenance “until a further order of the court”.
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