Home / Insights / Blog / Wife Pleads For an End to 16-Year Divorce Case

Wife Pleads For an End to 16-Year Divorce Case

Wife Pleads For an End to 16-Year Divorce Case

Divorce care

A woman has pleaded with judges to end a 16-year fight between her and her millionaire ex-husband in a ‘toxic’ case which has been described as Britain’s longest divorce battle.

Viki Maughan, 50, and her former partner, Richard Wilmot, 62, have been embroiled in a dispute over money since they legally split in 2001.

London’s Civil Appeal Court heard that Mr Wilmot is refusing to comply with a financial settlement reached with Ms Maughan, his third wife, and denies that he is liable for almost two decades of maintenance.

Mr Wilmot, a former British Airways captain who now works for Turkish Airlines, claims that Ms Maughan’s 18-year-old daughter was fathered by another man before they divorced.

Ms Maughan says her former husband must accept that the child is his.

IBB’s divorce law expert, Amanda Melton, commented:

“This is an extreme example of one party persistently litigating and refusing to accept the decision the judiciary. Of course this does not often happen. The vast majority of judgements are accepted as final and the parties move on with their lives, satisfied that the decision made for them is one they need to live with – whether they like it or not. It is hoped the publicity surrounding this case will not deter people from using the court system to achieve an end to their case when they are simply unable to reach agreement between themselves. That is why most people turn to court proceedings – as a last resort. It is hoped the court will take a firm stance to bring conclusion to the matter to avoid a suggestion that court orders need not be the end of the matter”

Former partner says DNA evidence is flawed

Mr Wilmot told the court of appeal that he is “absolutely convinced” that the teenager is not his and rejected the results of a DNA test that named him as the father – he says the evidence is flawed.

He maintains that the sample from the child was fake and had instead originated from his elder daughter Lisa who, Mr Wilmot says, was tested at the same time. He has also said the girl’s birth certificate is a “fabrication.”

“I have since ascertained with the lab that took the sample that they could not verify it came from the correct daughter,” Mr Wilmot asserts.

Mr Wilmot told the court he has paid £390,000 in maintenance and does not owe any more money.

He argues that the divorce settlement was “obtained by fraud on the part of Ms Maughan” and he now wants the court of appeal to block Ms Maughan’s attempt to enforce the 2001 settlement.

Ms Maughan has accused Mr Wilmot of being “evasive” and trying to dodge court papers. The pilot said he had “slow internet and an inability to download documents” while he was working overseas meant he did not receive a series of court orders requiring him to pay up what his Ms Maughan says he owes his former family.

He denies “playing technical games” to avoid his responsibilities to the girl, and insists he has simply been trying to protect his new wife, his fourth, “from the wreckage of the past.”

Judge says ‘scandalous’ case ‘beggars belief’

Nicholas Bowen, QC, for Mr Wilmot, said that his client was unwilling to receive documents at his family home in Somerset because he did not want his new wife to be affected by the fallout from the lengthy dispute. “He didn’t want to be pursued by this ghastly case . . . He therefore told his wife that if anything turns up (from the ex-wife’s lawyers), just send it back,” Mr Bowen told the court.

Ms Maughan’s barrister, Jonathan Swift, told the court: “A significant air of reality needs to descend in this case,” adding that his client has a “sincere wish that this court should dispose of this matter with as many restraining directions as possible, so it may never be resurrected again.”

Appeal Court Judge Lady Justice King described the case as “scandalous” and said its long drawn out history “beggars belief.” She made it clear that she believed Mr Wilmot was responsible for keeping the legal wheels in motion. “You’ve had 15 years to settle it,” she said.

The judges have reserved their final decision until a later date.

Contact our divorce and family lawyers today for expert advice

If you would like to discuss any aspect of family law, are considering divorce proceedings or a trial separation, or want to draw up a pre or post-nuptial agreement, call us in absolute confidence on 03456 381381 or email us at familylaw@ibblaw.co.uk. Alternatively please visit www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/family-matrimonial for more information.