K J Smith Solicitors

Case Update: Career Sacrifice Discrimination - Common Sense Prevails

Published: 4 December 2014

In October we reported on the case of Julia Hammans who had given up a financially lucrative career upon meeting her then future husband.  Her role became homemaker and carer for the couple’s two children. 

Mr Hammans continued to pursue his glittering and financially remunerative career in the same field of accountancy as Mrs Hammans had given up.  Mr Hammans earned a staggering £800,000 last year alone.

Mrs Hammans, 55, separated from her husband after 21 years of marriage in 2004.  Her share of the settlement included her retaining the former family home in London worth £1.75m. She was initially awarded maintenance of £90,000 per annum from her ex-husband but in 2007 this was increased, by agreement, to £150,000 per annum. 

Some 10 years after they separated Mr Hammons, 54, advised that he wished to retire for family reasons and he applied to vary the annual maintenance. Mrs Hammans sought to capitalise by requesting a lump sum of £2.6m.  She was awarded a mere £400,000 additional payment.  Mr Justice Coleridge ruled she needed £80,000 a year to live off and she could easily generate such a sum for herself from interest on her £1m savings pot and by moving home.

Mrs Hammans argued strongly that she should not have to leave her family home and downsize and Appeal Court judges have agreed that she was unfairly discriminated against and have ordered a rehearing of the matter.  In summing up Lord Justice Ryder confirmed that Mrs Hammans should be 'compensated' for the glittering career she had lost.

The dispute has been sent back to the High Court Family Division for reconsideration by a different judge.

With this stage victory under her belt, at this festive time of year, Mrs may very well be singing to herself the well known Frank Sinatra song "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

If you are thinking about divorce or separation then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our team of divorce experts have many years of experience in dealing with a range of divorce and separation issues, from the straightforward to the highly complex. For more information, contact us today to arrange your free consultation on 01491 630000 (Henley-on-Thames), 020 7070 0330 (Central London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 01256 584000 (Basingstoke).

This article was written by Suzanne Foster.

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