Friday, February 15, 2008

We Decry the Stereotype

But, the economics was clever...and cheap:
When her estranged husband asked her to give their marriage a second chance, Frances Niznik was happy to agree.

With daughter Amelia to think about she was anxious to try again, so she uprooted from upmarket Henley-on-Thames and moved 400 miles north to Edinburgh.

But just a week into the trial reconciliation she was astonished when her wealthy fund manager husband Mark told her he was moving out.

He then swiftly filed for divorce in a Scottish court, which would give her a much smaller settlement than an English one.

English courts take into account bonus payments when assessing salary but Scottish divorce laws do not, which meant Mr Niznik could claim he earned a far smaller income.

Last night Mrs Niznik, 37, said the reconciliation appeared to her to be nothing more than a cynical attempt to exploit the differences in divorce law between England and Scotland.

"It's as if Mark lured me up just so he could divorce me in Scotland and protect his fortune," she said.

....Mrs Niznik said: "The divorce was heard in Scotland, because he got it listed for March 2007 whereas my divorce petition was listed in the High Court in London for May 2007.

"I was told that a Scottish court wasn't going to give up its right to hear the case first.

"Because Scots law doesn't take account of bonus payments, Mark declared he was earning only £7,000 a month. His bonus package for 2006 alone was £243,875."

In the end, Mrs Niznik agreed to accept a lump sum of £750,000, including the former marital home.

She said: "It sounds a lot and I know I am much more fortunate than many other women. The mortgage on the house was paid off, but I was left without any pension rights and I have to pay legal bills of over £150,000.

"An English court would have given me monthly maintenance of several thousand pounds, plus I would have retained the rights to his pension."

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