The Telegraph has picked up this story from a case being heard in the High Court this week.
One almighty battle, and £800,000 of legal costs later, Mr Justice Holman will have to decide which of the couple, each staking a claim to the former family home in Ireland, should get to keep the house. Earlier arguments that the wife could live elsewhere in the same village have been rejected by her legal team on the grounds that the village is too small for them both to live in post-divorce.
I'm not aware of any specific legal precedent on this particular issue, but like any other financial relief case, the Judge will be bound to consider the factors set out in S25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, one of which includes the housing needs of the parties. At the end of the day, and like so many cases before the family courts, despite the legal framework available, the decision will be based on only the evidence before the Judge, and the strength, or otherwise, of the evidence given by the parties. Mr Justice Holman having heard evidence from both husband and wife here, will have to decide whose case he feels is the more compelling.
Will the village be big enough for them both? Let's wait and see.
Margie Hanley, 56, and estranged husband Michael, 60 – who used to share a home in Wentworth, Surrey – both want a property they jointly own in County Galway. They are staking rival claims to what Ms Hanley describes as her "ancestral territory" in rural Ireland at a hearing in the High Court in London. A judge began hearing evidence on Monday. Mr Justice Holman heard how the couple's 33-year marriage had hit the rocks in recent years, with Mr Hanley claiming his wife had an affair with a man he knew. Mrs Hanley denies this and told Mr how generations of her family had lived in Cornamona; her 92-year-old mother still lived there and was the oldest person in the village. She told Mr Justice Holman. "Life is full circle. It's where I started out. It's where I ended."