Husband challenges wife’s decision to settle in English court

divorce

A wealthy aristocrat has argued that his divorce proceedings should be held in Scotland after his former wife applied to the English courts for financial maintenance.

Charles Alastair Hyde Villiers, a royal descendent related to the Duchess of Cornwall, accused his former wife, Emma Mary Jane Villiers, of trying to take advantage of the English family justice system.

The pair, which lived in Scotland for the duration of their marriage, split in 2012. Ms Villiers moved to Notting Hill, London, following the separation to live with her daughter.

Her application to have her financial maintenance settled in the English High Court was approved.

Mrs Justice Parker, presiding over the case, ruled that Ms Villiers was “habitually resident” in England and approved £5,500-a-month interim maintenance payments until the final divorce settlement was reached.

The judge said she could see no reason why “divorce should not proceed in one jurisdiction and maintenance in another”.

However, Mr Villiers argued that an English judge had no right to intervene in a Scottish divorce.

He said his wife had been “rewarded” for moving to England. In Scotland, inherited wealth is not taken into account when dividing assets after a marriage ends, ruling out a potentially large portion of Mr Villiers estate.

Likewise, maintenance payouts are generally limited to just three years in Scotland, whereas in England they can run indefinitely.

Mr Villiers appeal will now be heard by a panel of three senior judges. The date has not been confirmed.

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