Harry: ‘I will be paying her for the rest of my life’

Should a woman in her 40s be financially supported by her ex-husband instead of going out to work?

Cold law:  Harry spent €20,000 in court to get greater access to his children. Before this was negotiated, his ex-wife would stop him from seeing them. Photograph: Reuters

Cold law: Harry spent €20,000 in court to get greater access to his children. Before this was negotiated, his ex-wife would stop him from seeing them. Photograph: Reuters

 

Harry is 50 and was separated for 13 years. He divorced in 2014. He has two children in their 20s.

He has paid more than half of his net income to his non-working ex-wife and his two children, amounting to more than €3,000 per month, for the past 10 years. “I will be paying her for the rest of my life,” he says. In addition he pays €650 per month to each of his children, plus their university costs.

Harry spent €20,000 in court to get greater access to his children. Before this was negotiated, his ex-wife would stop him from seeing them.

She would blame a “cold” or a “play-date” for her refusal to allow him to pick them up.

“It was a bad divorce, terrible. Society, judges, everyone thinks the children should be living with the mother. But today I have a great relationship with my children, which I fought for,” he says.

If Harry could change the separation and divorce legal system, he would first replace high-cost solicitors with a mediation process that had more legal clout. “I was in mediation with my ex about 17 times and I can’t praise it highly enough,” he says.

He also wants judges to question whether a woman in her 40s should be financially supported by her ex-husband instead of going out to work. “I feel terribly ripped off,” he says.

In conversation with Kate Holmquist. Harry’s name has been changed

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