A scorned wife who turned her £2m marital home into a ‘fortress’ after her rich husband divorced her has been ordered to leave after a three-year bitter dispute.
Therese St Clair Marshall, 43, would not hand back the keys to a Bayswater mews after millionaire sales director, Nicholas Marshall, ended their seven-year marriage.
Mr Marshall moved back to his parents after he filed for divorce but his former partner has refused to leave, to stop the rose-covered property being sold.
She was promised a “generous” £650,000 share of the marital wealth by a county court judge.
This settlement included an order that the former matrimonial home be sold and the proceeds divided between the former couple.
With a seven-day prison sentence hanging over her, Mrs Marshall argued in the Appeal Court that she had been wrongly ordered to leave her home.
She also challenged an order that she must pay £75,000 in legal bills out of her share of the marital assets.
She told the court: “It is impossible [for me to move out] — you are going to throw me out on the street. The order is dishonest. I have nowhere to go … it has been obvious from the start that this was about punishing me in some way.”
Ann Hussey QC, for Mr Marshall, said: “Mrs Marshall admits to game-playing and this court should not indulge her further. Mr Marshall has continued to meet the mortgage and outgoings on the property.
“This has caused inevitable financial strain. The former matrimonial home should have been sold by now and both parties re-housed and launched on a new life.”
Lord Justice MacFarlane said Mrs Marshall had “plainly done everything in her power” to delay the sale of her home.
He said: “This simple, straightforward order, harsh though it may be to her, must be enforced, for the court’s orders to be respected and, frankly, for this couple to move on.
“I know how important these matters are for the wife in terms of her losing her house and, potentially, her liberty.
“But I have decided against her at every turn. It is absolutely plain that there is no merit at all in any of the appeals that she seeks to bring.”
The judge also ordered her to pay £5,000 towards the costs of the appeal, bringing her total legal bill to £80,000.
“It can be very difficult to come to terms with what a court orders when a marriage comes to an end.” explains Neil Denny, divorce lawyer with family law specialists Diane Genders Solicitors.
“It can be a futile exercise to try to frustrate the court’s intention and a very expensive one as well. People need to take specialist family law advice at an early stage so that they have a realistic expectation of what the outcome will be and have time to plan for the changes ahead.”
If you are thinking about or going through divorce call Diane Genders Solicitors, specialist family lawyers in Lincolnshire on 01522 516500 and ask to speak to one of our team of experienced divorce lawyers.