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Landmark divorce case sees woman awarded £400k for giving up her career

A divorcing woman has been awarded £400,000 compensation on top of half of the couple’s £10 million assets by a family court judge who agreed that her career had been hindered in favour of her husband’s.

award giving up career

Bradie Pell

The woman was a trainee solicitor when she met her husband to be, who was then a solicitor, at the firm where they both worked. There were disagreements about her career prospects, but when they got engaged, the man thought hisfiancé should not remain at the firm.  Believing that her primary responsibility would be children and that his career should take precedence, she agreed and left the firm to become an in-house lawyer.

The couple were married for around ten years and had children.  Upon divorce, it was noted by her solicitor that the woman, a Cambridge graduate, had given up a “potentially lucrative career”.  In making the award, the judge, Mr Justice Moor, stressed that his judgement should be seen as exceptional and not a ‘green light’ for other similar cases and that in many such cases, any loss on either part will be covered by the asset sharing agreement.  He said that on this occasion he was confident that the woman had suffered sufficient ‘relationship-generated disadvantage’ to justify him awarding her the compensation and that she had stood a “very good chance” of becoming a partner at the firm at which they had both worked.

Bradie Pell, partner and head of family law at Graysons Solicitors says:

“This is a very interesting case, as, whilst the judge has made it clear that it should not be seen as the opening of floodgates for such types of claim, it does prove that there may be circumstances in which compensation may be deemed to be justified.  Also, whilst this is more often than not going to be the wife who makes the claim, having given up a career in order to look after the home and children, there is nothing to say it cannot be the husband.”

Author: Bradie Pell, partner and head of Gaysons’ family department.

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