Williams v Lindley (formerly Williams): CA 10 Feb 2005

The husband sought to re-open the consent order made on the divorce. The wife had been employed by a widower as his housekeeper. After separating from the husband she moved into the widower’s house with both the children. She sought a transfer of the husband’s share of the matrimonial home to her arguing that she wished to return there with the children. Her solicitors categorically stated that her relationship with the widower was merely as employmee. The order gave her a lump sum of andpound;125,000 being a 70:30 split of the assets. Within a few months the wife’s employment was terminated and the wife and former employer were married. He appealed refusal of permission to apply to set the order aside.
Held: The judge had asked what might be the order finally made. That was incorrect. The issue was whether any supervening event fundamentally undermined the consent order. Here, a lump sum order was based upon the wife’s need to provide a home for herself and for the children. Within a month she had announced her engagement to Mr Lindley. It was a plain case for the grant of leave.
Thorpe L.J said: ‘The main foundation for the lump sum order of andpound;125,000 was the wife’s urgent need, as she put her case, to re-house herself and the children if she were not to have the family home. That foundation was destroyed within one month by the wife’s engagement to Mr Lindley.’
Thorpe LJ, Smith LJ, Buxton LJ (Dissenting)
[2005] EWCA Civ 103, Times 23-Mar-2005, [2005] 2 FLR 710
England and Wales
CitedSmith v Smith CA 20-Feb-1991
The wife committed suicide six months after the ancillary relief order. The husband sought to re-open out of time the ancillary relief order and to reclaim the sum paid from the estate.
Held: Where an ancillary relief order came to be . .

Cited by:
CitedDixon v Marchant CA 24-Jan-2008
The parties had only recently settled their ancillary relief proceedings by consent when the former wife remarried. The former husband sought the setting aside of the order. The wife had denied the relationship. The judge had found the conditions in . .

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Updated: 23 January 2021; Ref: scu.224373