A 41 year old woman is set to make legal history if she wins her fight to claim a share of her husband’s compensation as part of her divorce settlement, reports Metro.

The 19 year marriage of Helen Tippett and her husband, 45 year old Andrew Kerslake, broke down four years ago and since then Mr Kerslake has become estranged from the couple’s children.

Mr Kerslake was awarded £175,000 by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in 1998, five years after the couple were married, following his revelation that he had been sexually abused between the ages of five and ten.  His abuser was subsequently sentenced to three years in jail.  Rather than use the funds which he called “dirty money”, he placed it in a trust, with the instructions that it be bequeathed to an undisclosed charity when he dies.  The trust is now reported to be valued at around £250,000.

Ms Tippett has since moved on after the breakdown of her marriage and now has a new partner, with whom she wants to buy a house.  Her argument is that she needs the funds to buy the property and that in actual fact, although the trust money came from a source which dragged up painful memories for her estranged husband;  it nevertheless should be classed as a joint marital asset and should therefore form part of the divorce settlement, which is currently being prepared.

Mr Kerslake is said to be “very disappointed” in his wife, claims that he never applied for compensation and doesn’t want the money for himself, but is not prepared to simply hand it over to his wife, to help her build a new life.

The case is ongoing but should Ms Tippett win and be granted a share of her ex-husband’s compensation money, then this would be the first case ever of its type in English legal history and could potentially open the floodgates for other compensation wins to be included in divorce settlements.

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