Divorcee wins support for life from her ex-husband… because she’s blown £230k


Departed estate agent Maria Mills, 51, was awarded the cash and allowance payments in her 2002 divorce settlement from husband Graham Shop, 50, after 13 years of marriage.

But she lost it all and plunged heavily into in hock after investing “unwisely” in a series of ever more “upmarket” London belongings.

Now top judges at London’s Appeal Court have ordered Mrs Mills’ monthly payouts to be upped to £1,441 and disclosed her ex-husband he must support her for life, because she is “unable to meet her focal needs”.

Mr Mills earlier pleaded that he “should not be the insurer against the the missis’s poor financial decisions” and forced to “pick up the tab” 15 years after they split.

His barrister, Philip Cayford QC requested for changes in the law to limit maintenance. He told the judges Mr Mills, who lives in Guildford, has remarried, has a new set and is desperate to “move on” with his life.

“It is wrong in principle and in law that the the missis should continue to depend, and indeed seek to increase, her dependence,” united the QC.

The pair went before a family judge last year, with Mrs Quern asking for more maintenance and her husband seeking a clean break. But Connoisseur Mark Everall QC threw out both their challenges.

Lord Justness Longmore and Sir Ernest Ryder heard that Mrs Mills’ house acquisitions had been from a house in Weybridge to a Wimbledon flat to a luxury mansion bedsitter in Battersea. 

But each time she had overfinanced and she is now living in a rented home in Weybridge and form part-time as a beauty therapist.

Her lawyer, Frank Feehan QC, told the court: “She had robustness issues throughout and a child to bring up.”

Sir Ernest, giving the court’s convention, said Judge Everall had calculated the wife’s “needs” at £1,441 a month, but had not escalated her maintenance payments from £1,100.

However, he said Judge Everall “impelled an error of principle” in not explaining why Mrs Mills’ payments should not be raised and that Mr Mills “has the knack to make the maintenance payments asked for”.

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