Sunday 2 October 2011

Disabled man wins the right to appeal the Court’s decision to allow his ex wife to claim half his compensation

Kevin Mansfield, 41, was involved in a car accident in 1992. As a result of the accident he lost a leg and suffered serious spinal injuries leaving him partially paralysed. He was awarded £500,000 in compensation to enable him to purchase an adapted bungalow to live in and a flat as an investment for his future.

Mr Mansfield met his wife Catherine five years later and they had twins together. They separated in 2008. Mr and Mrs Mansfield share custody of their children who spend six days every fortnight with their father.

In a landmark divorce case in May 2010 the Judge ordered Mr Mansfield to pay his ex-wife more than half his compensation as part of the divorce settlement despite the fact that the compensation awarded was to make his life easier following his catastrophic life changing injuries. The judge commented that all his money should be “put into the pot” of matrimonial assets to be divided up.

On 7th February 2011 Lady Justice Black gave Mr Mansfield permission to take his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of having the original decision overturned. The appeal is based on the fact that the compensation is Mr Mansfield’s only means of support and if he has to pay more than half of it to his ex-wife he will have to sell his especially adapted bungalow and move out of Chelmsford in Essex where his children live to a less expensive location. The Judge urged the couple to try to settle their dispute out of court to avoid potentially enormous legal costs; they have already spent approximately £40,000 each on the dispute.

This situation could happen to anyone which is why Garden House Solicitors always recommend our clients who receive significant sums in compensation to place the money into a personal injury trust. The trust money is easily accessible to the client and in the event of subsequent divorce proceedings the Judge would give careful consideration to the Trust in particular money ear marked for the client’s future care. Furthermore, when the compensation is within a trust it is not considered when calculating means tested benefits which is often an essential income for a person who has sustained catastrophic injury.

If you need advice about catastrophic injury or personal injury trusts please contact Patricia Ling on             01992 422128       or by email to Tel: 01992 422 128

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