IT'S GOOD NEWS

Never-ending pay-off

10 February 2017 | Ross Jones

Valentine’s Day will be here next week, so with Grinch-like spirit, I’m going to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the pitfalls of marriage.

Because according to the Court of Appeal, divorce doesn’t mean a clean break. As Graham Mills found out (to his cost) this week. Nope, when Graham took his vows and muttered ‘til death do us part’, well…. he had no idea how right he was. It very much looks like that’s the only way he’s gonna get out of this one. 

Mr Mills had been sued by his ex-wife, Maria, 15 years after their divorce because she needed more money.

When the couple divorced in 2002, Mr Mills agreed to pay her monthly instalments of £1,100 and he agreed to let her keep all of the liquid cash accrued during the marriage (a sum total of around £250,000). I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Anyway, Mr Mills, poor bugger that he is, thought that was that. And 15 years went by and he re-married and started a family and…… then he found himself in court, again, opposite his ex-wife. Handing her more fistfuls of cash.

How?

Well Ms Mills, strong independent woman that she is, blew through £250,000 by making a series of bad property investments (she moved houses several times). And of course, when the money ran out, she decided that her ex-husband (who else) should play insurer to her idiocy.

Apparently the court agreed.

They said she was “not a smart businesswoman” and “unable to meet her basic needs”.

I can’t for the life of me figure out it’s fair that this should fall on her ex-husband. I mean, they’re divorced. She had money. She should be able to take care of herself. And if she can’t, unlucky. It isn’t her ex's job to bail out her stupidity because they were once married.

And I can’t help but wonder whether the court would’ve come to the same decision had the roles been reversed.

Also, what happens if she gets herself in further financial trouble? I mean, how much is old Graham liable for, in the long-run. Is there a line, anywhere, that’s being drawn? Should he just bankroll her forever? Is that his job now?

Ms Mills left the court with a grin on her face that would put the Cheshire Cat to shame. Of course she did, she’s got a free ride for life!

The case has received widespread coverage, with many people shocked at the court’s ruling. There are even rumours that Mr Mills will be launching an appeal. It’s not exactly the best advert for marriage and not the greatest PR ahead of Valentine’s Day. I mean, there’s nothing sexy about costly legal battles with an ex-wife.

So for all you hopeless romantics thinking of popping the question this Valentine’s Day, think of Graham Mills before you do. And maybe… sleep on it.