Barrister’s ex-wife loses case for divorce payout

The ex-wife of a leading barrister who claimed she was pressured into an “unfair” divorce settlement has failed in her bid for more money, according to an article in the Evening Standard.

Catherine De Renee was granted £72,500 of shared assets after she split from barrister Jason Galbraith-Marten QC in 2009. The lawyer paid his ex-wife about £45,000 in maintenance until 2012. He now pays her £9,000 a year to support their daughter. 

Putting the case for reassessing the settlement, Ms De Renee’s barrister Nicholas Yates said his client was in a “precarious” financial position. “She resides in rented accommodation and derives her income from two sources, namely state benefits and child support. She also has debts of over £50,000,” he said.

He continued: “The husband is a barrister, specialising in employment law in chambers in London. He resides in the former matrimonial home in Fulham. The wife believes this property to be worth in the region of £1.6 million. There was in this case no independent assessment of whether the settlement was fair.” 

Ms De Renee argued she signed the original divorce maintenance arrangements “under very great pressure”. 

However, Lady Justice Black threw out the claim, backing Mr Galbraith-Marten’s argument that he had honoured the settlement – which was agreed in Australia - in full. Lady Justice Black said: “The wife was legally advised when she reached the Australian agreements. She could have sought help there if she thought they were not fair and did not provide for her needs. When she subsequently realised how dissatisfied she was, she was able to air her views before the Australian court and they were examined and not established. 

“The fact that the wife has more need now would, even in this country, not be reason to reopen an agreement reached by consent.”

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