Wealthy broker battles ex-wife over payout of €137,500 a year
A WEALTHY Irish businessman has told a London court he found it "repugnant" to have to pay his former wife €137,500 a year for life after she moved her lover into her Dublin home and had his child.
Richard Grey (36) has brought his case to the British Court of Appeal, claiming the cohabitation rule should be examined and that he should no longer have to make payments to his former wife, Lara.
His lawyer yesterday asked where was the "justice" in the trader paying €137,500 to a household that includes his former wife's new partner and their child.
"If this is how the law is still to be interpreted, then the husband submits that to any outside observer such a situation is repugnant," Martin Pointer QC said yesterday.
The court heard that the couple met as teenagers in Dublin, and emigrated to London in 1997.
Mr Grey is a broker in the City and they married in London in September 2003, after realising a ceremony in Spain in 1998 was not recognised as valid. They have an eight-year-old daughter.
After the breakdown of the marriage in 2005, Mr Grey moved out of the family home in north-west London. Mrs Grey then returned to Ireland with her daughter and moved into a €700,000 house in north Co Dublin, which is being transferred into her name.
During her claim for a share of the assets of the marriage, she wrote to her husband's solicitors denying she was cohabiting with a man referred to as LT.
But at a previous divorce hearing in the High Court in London, she agreed she was in a "fixed, committed relationship with LT" and she was 17 weeks' pregnant by him.
Mr Grey was ordered to make the payments for life or until she remarried.
He had hired a private detective to observe the wife's household in Dublin and his father, John, who lived nearby, also collected evidence about her relationship.
"Against a background where the learned judge found the wife to be a dishonest witness, it was and remains the husband's case that he ought to have found, and was indeed plainly wrong not to have found, that, for all practical purposes, LT was cohabiting with the wife," said Mr Pointer.
He said the judge had taken into account cohabitation before marriage as part of its total duration calculations and the law should now take into account cohabitation after marriage.
However, Mrs Grey's lawyers argued that Mr Grey -- with a net annual income of more than €500,000 -- could afford the €137,500 annual maintenance payments.
Nigel Dyer QC said that, even if she was cohabiting with the man who is now the father of her second child -- "which she denies" -- she had "always been financially dependent" on her ex-husband's earnings, and her maintenance payments were "entirely appropriate".
The court heard that, although there have been no inquiries into the means of Mrs Grey's new partner -- who has not been named in court -- he has a steady job at a relatively senior level, has a home in a good area of Dublin, and drives a Mercedes.
The three judges are expected to make a decision at a later date.