In a ruling which drew a clear distinction between married and unmarried mothers, a Middle Eastern prince’s ex-girlfriend, who was handed millions by a judge after she gave birth to his child, has had her ‘opportunistic’ bid for more thrown out by the Court of Appeal.
The mother had initially demanded more than £1 million a year from the prince as maintenance for their five-year-old son. However, the Court ruled that she had already done well enough out of her royal ex-lover – and was not entitled to a penny more.
The prince had bought the £3.5 million freehold of the home where the mother and his son lived; he had paid off her £770,000 debts and covered her legal costs bills to the tune of well over a million pounds. A family judge had also ordered him to pay a ‘colossal’ £204,000 a year in maintenance for his disabled son.
The mother nevertheless argued that she was ‘virtually destitute’ and had been given a raw deal. Her lawyers accused the father of ‘concealing huge wealth’ and argued that he should have been forced to attend court for cross-examination. The mother had been through an Islamic wedding ceremony with the father, although her marriage was not recognised under English law.
However, in dismissing her appeal, the Court noted that the mother and father had never co-habited and that he had never sought contact with his son. Although he was obliged to pay the mother a ‘carer’s allowance’, his primary duty was to provide reasonable financial support for his son. The scale of his wealth was of limited relevance and he had rightly not been required to disclose his assets in detail.
Condemning the mother’s claim as ‘exaggerated’ – she had, amongst other things, sought to make the father fund her membership of a well-known nightclub – the Court found that she could not shoe-horn herself into a similar position to that of a wife in a ‘big money’ divorce case. She was entitled neither to ‘compensation’ in her own right nor ‘a share’ of the father’s riches. In the circumstances, her appeal was ‘opportunistic, spurious and totally unmeritorious’.