A stay at home father is taking his case to the Court of Appeal, after being awarded a divorce settlement of £300,000 with £50,000 per year maintenance which, he argues, is likely to see him lose his home and be forced to move out of the area.
This financial arrangement was granted by the court on the basis that the husband, Mr Nightingale, earned on average, £36,000 per year as a freelance photographer, before he left work 11 years ago to care for the couple’s young daughter. His ex-wife currently earns £420,000 per year as partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
For Mr Nightingale there were several problems with the way in which the financial agreement was formulated. Firstly, that a person’s potential income should not necessarily be based on earnings which they achieved over a decade ago – particularly in this volatile employment market. The question being whether a mother who gave up work in the same circumstances would have been treated differently. Would a mother have been awarded 12% of their husband’s earnings in the same circumstances?
The second problem relates to the high property prices and cost of living in Wimbledon, where the family lived. Mr Nightingale claims he will be forced to move out of the family home, but would be unlikely to be able to afford to buy any other property in the same area – an issue which would also have a significant impact on the couple’s child.
With more and more mothers adopting the role of the family’s sole earner, the ruling of the Court of Appeal may well prove to be exceptionally important for future similar divorce settlement calculations involving house husbands.