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Women should be 'independent' after divorce

The law places a duty on wives to return to work and exercise their own earning capacity

20 May 2015

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A former beauty queen at the centre of a multi-million pound divorce settlement has said she has no plans to work but is a 'very good wife' and hopes to remarry.

Ekaterina Fields (née Parfenova), who is seeking a financial settlement from her estranged husband Richard Fields, an American lawyer, is reportedly looking for a £2.6m share of an estimated £6m worth of assets plus £750,000 per year.

Commenting on recent developments in the case, Ursula Danagher, partner and head of private client at Thomas Eggar, said: 'This is one of the first high-profile divorce hearings that has been open to the public. As Mr Justice Holman said, the public have the right to see justice at work. The courts urge women like Mrs Fields to move towards independence and encourage and support settlements with mechanics to assist this process.

'There is a duty on wives to return to work and exercise their own earning capacity, as we saw recently in the high profile matter of Wright v Wright. In that case, Tracey Wright, aged 51, was told to get a job and stop living off her husband's finances. Accordingly, Mrs Fields' upward battle continues and the judgment, which will be made public and no-doubt heavily reported, will be a very important decision and precedent for cases of this nature.'

Holman J, one of the most senior family judges in the High Court, has already urged the warring couple to enter into 'serious settlement discussions' after describing divorce litigation as a 'boxing match'.

After asking Mrs Fields if she had previously experienced litigation, to which she replied that she had not, Holman J said: 'It's awful. Don't you think it's awful? It's like a boxing match.'

Yet, despite the judge's remarks, the ten-day trial has gone ahead. The case is one of the first high-profile divorce hearings to be open to the public after Holman J insisted that the public had a right to see justice 'at work'.

This article first appeared on PCA's sister publication, Solicitors Journal

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