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Divorce and Damages

It was reported recently that Kevin Mansfield, a 41 year old accident victim, has been given permission to appeal a court decision which awarded his former wife a chunk of personal injury damages he received before the couple met.

Kevin Mansfield had been ordered to pay his former wife more than half the amount of money he received in damages almost 10 years ago. However, yesterday he was given permission to take his case back to court. Mr Mansfield was involved in a serious road accident before the couple met. His injuries were so serious that he was awarded compensation of £500,000 following the amputation of one of his legs.

The couple met five years later, married, had children and separated in 2008. As part of the divorce settlement Mr Mansfield was ordered to hand over £285,000 to his former wife. When dividing the assets of a divorcing couple, the court look at all the available financial resources, including the parties’ income, savings, property assets and pensions.

Personal injury damages are not given any special treatment and the money will be as relevant as the family home and savings. However, it does not necessarily mean that compensation monies will be always be distributed equally between the parties.

The court will look at the specific circumstances of each case and attempt to balance the needs of both parties, with a particular focus on the needs of any children. Of course it will be argued that a person who is left disabled following an accident may have greater financial needs and this is likely to be reflected in a court’s decision.

A disabled person may be unable to work or need a specially adapted house to live in. Both these circumstances are likely to reflect a greater financial need. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are guaranteed to keep 100% of their damages as the needs of the other party and the children must also be considered.

The full hearing will now take place before three judges at a date yet to be set unless the parties can settle their differences in the meantime.

Lisa Burton -Durham