A family Judge has criticised a husband who cheated on his wife.

The criticism related to the husband’s decision to contest a divorce petition, issued by his wife.  She referred to it as an ‘awful case’ in which the husband’s cross-examination of the couple’s daughter was described as ‘particularly excruciating’.

Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts said the case, referred to as VW v BH, was ‘extraordinary’. Firstly, it was a three-day contested trial in circumstances where there are only around 20 contested divorce trials a year and secondly because the husband contested the divorce despite admitting that he committed adultery throughout the 22 years of their marriage.

The trial was supposed to start on 5 September 2018 but it was adjourned due to the fact that the husband was, allegedly, attacked the night before. However, HHJ Roberts said she was ‘not satisfied that the husband had, indeed, been attacked as he suggested.

HHJ Roberts said the husband insisted on all of his wife’s witnesses attending ‘and, if I had not intervened, would have questioned each of them for very long periods of time… It was a difficult and painful experience, in my judgment, for each of Ms W’s witnesses and for Ms W to observe. His cross-examination of his daughter, M, was particularly excruciating’. Roberts added, ‘unfortunately and wholly unnecessarily’ BH asked his daughter questions about herpes.

HHJ Roberts said BH emerged from all of the cross-examination as a ‘deeply dishonest man’. She said: ‘I do not believe him about any of the matters in issue in this case. His attitudes displayed in these proceedings are those which were common 40 years ago, not today.’ Roberts said she could only conclude that ‘this whole awful case has been so that he can delude people into thinking his conduct was not as shameful as it indeed is’.

The Judge added: ‘Mr H’s whole case has indeed been completely futile, a huge waste of money, a tragic destruction of family relationships, and all, in my opinion, to satisfy Mr H’s own vanity and need to be in control and for the other reasons I have suggested earlier. All he had to do was to not contest the divorce, a divorce he wanted, as virtually everybody else in the country does, and this couple would have had their decree nisi last year, the various relationships would, in all likelihood, have been well on the way to healing by now and the money saved for the family.’

The outcome led to the Wife being granted a Decree Nisi.

The husband was ordered to pay the wife’s costs of pursuing her petition and the proceedings born out of husband’s insistence on defending the divorce proceedings. 

The Judge ruled that the costs should be worked out on an indemnity basis ‘because of the totally unnecessary proceedings that have taken place, a huge amount of costs which have been made much more expensive than they needed to because of decisions taken by Mr H’.

The Judgment was published at a time when family law group Resolution, which has 6,500 members, is trying to raise awareness of how parents can minimise the impact of conflict on their children as part of a ‘Good Divorce Week’ campaign.

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