Divorce dispute lasts longer than the marriage

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A model and a broker who split up five months after spending about £200,000 on their wedding should try to stop fighting over money, a judge has said.

Marilyn Levesque and Damien Hancox have been embroiled in court litigation for six times longer than they actually shared a marital home.

Mr Justice Baker, analysing the latest stage of their dispute at the Family Division of the High Court in London, has urged them to try to reach agreement.

He was told that Miss Levesque had already spent more than £230,000 on lawyers. Judges have heard the pair, in their early thirties, had a “hedonistic” lifestyle after meeting in 2010 and living at a South Kensington flat.

They wed in July 2013 — amid a ceremony that Miss Levesque said cost about £200,000 — before separating in December that year and are now divorced.

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Commodities broker Mr Hancox, who has homes in Ibiza and Verbier, won the latest round of the fight.

A judge had made orders against him at a private family court hearing in London late in 2016.

But Mr Hancox mounted an appeal, complaining of unfairness as a result of being forced to take part in the hearing over a telephone from Ibiza because he had pneumonia. Mr Justice Baker analysed his complaints yesterday at a public appeal hearing and concluded that rival claims should be reconsidered at a fresh hearing.

Miss Levesque says Mr Hancox has not disclosed detail of his finances.

She says evidence shows that he had assets of more than £20 million in 2007 — the same year he had declared himself bankrupt — and operated Swiss bank accounts in company names.

Miss Levesque says money was “spent freely” during their marriage and there were photographs of “bundles of cash” at the home they shared.

Her lawyers told Mr Justice Baker that Mr Hancox would regularly spend more than £4,000 on a trip to a nightclub and ran up a credit card bill of more than £200,000 in a 12-month period.

They said that Mr Hancox was ordered earlier to pay maintenance pending the conclusion of proceedings and that he owed her more than £100,000.

Barrister Justin Warshaw, QC, for Miss Levesque, said the “mess” had been created because Mr Hancox had failed to disclose financial information.

Barrister Christopher McCourt, who represented Mr Hancox, said questions needed to be asked about how much Miss Levesque should walk away with after a marriage lasting less than half a year. He told Mr Justice Baker that she had “always lived in student-style accommodation”.

The judge told the pair the case was “very expensive”, adding: “The more money you spend on legal proceedings the less money there will be to share between you at the end of the day.”


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