The answer is “Yes” following a Court of Appeal decision this week.
Cambridge University lecturer, 40, won £34,000 divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who said she was so hardworking she didn’t need his money
• When couple split, court ordered that husband pay £723-a-month maintenance
• Academic mother then increased her hours to ‘help her survive financially’
• Ex-husband claimed the extra pay meant she didn’t need his money anymore
• Judges backed ex-wife after court congratulated her for getting back to work
A Cambridge don has won a divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who claimed he shouldn’t have to pay her maintenance now she is working full-time.
Despite having children to care for, university lecturer Kathleen Liddell moved from part time to full time hours after her break-up from Goran Mickovski, saying she needed to work ‘as hard as she could’ to ‘survive financially’.
But her ex used her increased pay as a reason to go back to court, saying he should not have to pay £723-a-month maintenance due to her increased earnings.
Two senior judges have now thrown out his claims that his wife doesn’t need the money and backed an order that he pay a £34,000 lump sum to cover four years’ worth of maintenance.
Judges have backed the maintenance received by Kathleen Liddell (left) from her husband Goran Mickovski (right), despite her having since increased her hours at work
The court heard that the former couple – who were married for 11 years – lived in an £800,000 home in north London, which made up the bulk of their £1.2million wealth.
As well as the maintenance payments, Mrs Liddell received a £555,000 lump sum when the marriage broke down and, in return, signed her half of the house over to her ex, who still lives there.
She used the money to buy a five-bedroom property in Cambridgeshire near her £53,000-a-year job at the University’s law faculty. She now lives with her new partner, a chartered accountant.
Mr Mickovski, who is also required to pay child support, has re-married to a businesswoman working for British-American Tobacco.
Mr Mickovski worked as a consultant solicitor in London but has also been Minister of Foreign Investments for the Macedonian government.
Mr Mickovski kept the family’s London home after the pair split, paying his ex-wife a lumpsum
Mr Mickovski later took his ex-wife to court, asking Judge Markanza Cudby to stop the £723-a-month maintenance he had been paying her because his ex-wife’s wages had increased.
Mrs Liddell, however, was ‘congratulated’ by the divorce judge for her strong work ethic.
The judge commented: ‘I’m satisfied that she works hard… I understand and accept her decision to work full time… she is earning 53,000-a-year and I accept she is working as hard as she can and she can’t earn any more.’
The judge also branded Mr Mickovski ‘belligerent, unhelpful and dictatorial’ over his handling of the case.
Two more judges at London’s Appeal Court have now heard Mr Mickovski challenge that order, arguing that his ex-wife had been left in a financial position that ‘exceeded her needs.’
His barrister, Stephen Lyon, told the Court of Appeal that Judge Cudby’s decision not to end the maintenance payments had left his ex more comfortable than she needed to be, when by now she should be financially ‘independent.’
The wife’s five-bedroom home ‘arguably exceeded her needs,’ he argued, adding: ‘There was no consideration of need.’
But Lady Justice Macur dismissed Mrs Mickovski’s challenge to Judge Cudby’s order, saying: ‘The wife says; “I need to work in order to survive financially”. She was struggling. Each month her outgoings exceeded her income.
‘That is why she needs maintenance going forward and why the judge made the findings that she did.’
ruled she does still need the maintenance despite working harder to support her family”
Judges at the Court of Appeal ruled she does still need the maintenance despite working harder to support her family
The appeal judges added: ‘The judge congratulated her for getting herself back to work full time with tiny children.
‘The judge found that the husband had not been accurate in his assertions…she accepted the evidence of the wife. We intend to refuse the husband permission to appeal.’
Mr Mickovski was given two months to pay the £34,000 to his ex – who represented herself in court – along with £3,543 in legal costs.
He must keep on paying her £723-a-month maintenance until he comes up with the £34,000 lump sum.
Comment by Richard Buxton
Many ex wives who work think that in this day and age they cannot get maintenance!I generally advise they can and should do so.This case supports my advice!