The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision that left a wife dependent on her father for financial support following her divorce from her wealthy husband.
Hayat Alireza and husband Hossam Radwan divorced in 2013 after 14 years of marriage.
Mr Radwan had assets of £17m and earned £350,000 a year. Ms Alireza had no assets or career and had stayed at home during the marriage to look after the couple’s three children.
She was a British citizen but her father was a Saudi businessman with an estimated fortune of £500m. Under Saudi law, Ms Alireza would inherit 20% of his estate, approximately £100m, when he died.
However, until that time she had no means of supporting herself.
The judge at the original hearing awarded her £2m on the basis that she had a wealthy father who could help to support her. She could continue living in the marital home with her children but would have to move out when her father died or if she remarried.
She argued that the decision robbed her of her independence and she should not have to rely on her father for support, regardless of his wealth.
The Court of Appeal ruled in her favour. Lady Justice Gloster said: “The judge had made an order which denied this wife any recognition in the form of a capital settlement to reflect her contribution to the marriage.”
She said that under English law, a father has no duty to support his daughter. She pointed out that the husband enjoyed “complete autonomy” and had remarried and started a new family.
“The wife, however, living in a property owned by her husband and his family, continues to be tied to her former husband.
“That has an inevitable impact on her life, including on any new relationship.”
The case was sent back to the High Court to decide how much extra Ms Alireza should receive. She is claiming £5.5m.
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