A High Court judge has dismissed a man’s appeal in a Divorce case seeking a stake in his ex-wife’s home after he had spent many thousands of euros on un-prescribed drugs, alcohol, and Panamanian goods.

In the ruling, Mr Justice Max Barrett said the woman had “through grift and thrift” arrived at a position where she will likely be able to pay off her home loan. He dismissed the man’s appeal seeking a stake in his ex-wife’s home after he appears to have dissipated almost all of his capital resources.

The ex-husband had appealed against a 2021 order of the Circuit Court, submitting he had not been granted proper provision in those divorce proceedings. The order essentially made some ancillary provision and continued an earlier order made in 2008 in judicial separation proceedings, said the judge.

When a couple cannot agree the terms by which they will live separately, either person can apply to the Courts for a decree of judicial separation or a decree of Divorce, depending on the length of time that they have been living separate and apart. The decree confirms that the couple no longer live together as a married couple and may also make orders in relation to custody and access to children, the payment of maintenance and lump sums, the transfer of property, the extinguishment of succession rights, etc.

Before the court grants you a decree, it must be satisfied that:

  • The grounds for the application exist.
  • The couple has been advised about counselling and mediation.
  • Proper provision has been made for the welfare of any dependents (children)
  • Proper financial provision has been made for the parties

In the case referred to above, in 2008, by virtue of a decree of Judicial Separation, the woman was given custody and primary care of the couple’s children, while each was given one family property, division of certain monies and they had separate pension arrangements that were roughly equal, noted the judge.

The man’s lifestyle has resulted in the dissipation of his capital assets to the point that he even lost the residence ordered to him in 2008. Had he been more prudent, said the judge, he would now be the owner of an apartment in an attractive suburb. Instead, he lives in rental accommodation.

Dismissing the appeal, the judge said he could see “no reason” why the woman should now be landed with the consequences of her ex-husband’s “poor and improvident decisions”. This demonstrates that on a Divorce application where there has already been proper provision made for the parties, the Court will be reluctant to penalise one party for the others lack prudence in the management of their affairs, especially where there are no dependents.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email info@nfg.ie.