Leading Family Lawyer Responds To Jane Morris 90 Per Cent Divorce Settlement

No One-Size-Fits-All Approach To Divorce Says Family Law Expert At Irwin Mitchell


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The decision by a judge to award high flying businesswoman turned stay-at-home mum with 90 per cent of the family fortune is indicative of the bespoke way divorce proceedings operate in the UK says a leading family lawyer at Irwin Mitchell.

Jane Morris, 52, hit the headlines this week after she was awarded £500,000 during divorce proceedings having quit her career as a recruitment consultant to keep house for then-husband and their three children for 20 years.

Awarding 90 per cent of the family assets to her, the judge had said that Jane “needs adequate maintenance” because sacrificing her career had left her with a “low earning capacity... in her middle fifties with rusty skills.”

But while the news has divided opinion on social media, Alison Hawes, expert family lawyer and partner at Irwin Mitchell, said the move showcased the best discretionary regime in the world.

Expert Opinion
“We shouldn’t be exercising a one-size-fits-all approach to divorce,” she said. “While news of Jane Morris’ settlement seems to have caused a stir, in reality it’s nothing new.

“In other proceedings you may see a former spouse ordered to pay maintenance while their ex-partner, who was previously a stay-at-home parent, retrains to be able to support themselves. Once that training is complete that maintenance can cease and both parties can enjoy a clean break.

“In the fast-paced society we now find ourselves in, no one can step back onto the top of the career ladder after a 20-year hiatus. In these circumstances a judge must decide what can be reasonably accomplished and in Jane Morris’ case, at 52 years of age and effectively unemployed for 20 years having devoted them to raising three children, she has been deemed to have limited earning potential.”
Alison Hawes, Partner

One divorce judge, Glen Brasse, described Jane Morris as being a “competent and effective operator” during her career, but who then “stayed at home to look after the home and care for the children by agreement with her husband”.

Details of the case came out as Mr Morris launched a challenge in the court of appeal against the financial outcome of the divorce. He faces a six-week suspended prison sentence for non-payment of maintenance.

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