Mum claims that women who give up their careers lose out in divorce settlements

Divorce settlements discriminate against woman who gave up work to run the family home, one woman has claimed.

Mum-of-two Julia Hammans, who “sacrificed” a successful career to be a housewife, is locked in a £11m divorce battle with her ex-husband Nicholas.

The High Court has heard how Ms Hammans agreed to leave her job as a financial director at a London department store after falling pregnant 25 years ago. At the time she was earning the same as her spouse, who went on to become a multimillionaire partner at the auditors PricewaterhouseCooper.

Although the couple enjoyed a very high standard of living, the relationship began to break down and the pair parted ways in 2004.

Ms Hammans, now aged 55, had previously been awarded the family’s six-bedroom house in Twickenham as part of an interim financial settlement. But in March this year, Mr Justice Coleridge ordered that she sell the £1.75m home to fund her future living expenses.

Now she has challenged the way that the couple’s wealth has been divided, arguing that her income is ten times less than her ex-husband’s.

Her solicitors argue that she should be entitled to compensation from Mr Hamman’s earnings, to make up for the promising career she agreed to give up in the late 1980s. The case rests on the claim that their client should be entitled to the same affluent lifestyle as her ex-husband.

Following the hearing last week, the judges agreed to reserve their decision.