I received hate mail, says divorcee in cash dispute with ex-husband

High Court of Justice, London, UK

A divorcee says she has received internet hate mail after reports of the latest stage of a dispute over money with her ex-husband featured in the media.

Maria Mills, whose marriage to businessman Graham Mills ended 15 years ago, has complained that reports of a recent Court of Appeal hearing in London were "one-sided".

She said the tone and content of articles had caused her considerable distress.

Reports told how Mrs Mills had been awarded a £230,000 lump sum after her divorce plus £1,100 monthly maintenance payments. Appeal judges had said Mr Mills should increase monthly payments to around £1,400 because Mrs Mills was unable to meet her basic needs.

Mrs Mills has aired her concerns at a time when lawyers are debating how much the public should be told about people involved in big-money divorce fights in the Family Division of the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.

High Court hearings are normally staged in private and people involved cannot be named in reports. Appeal court hearings are normally staged in public and adults involved can be named in reports.

Two specialist High Court judges have outlined opposing views on privacy and the naming of names. One, Mr Justice Holman, says High Court divorce money fights should be heard in public and people involved named. Another, Mr Justice Mostyn, says they should be heard behind closed doors and people involved should not be named.

Last month, another divorcee failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges to bar journalists from revealing her identity in reports of the latest stage of her money dispute with her ex-husband and an appeal hearing in London.

Mrs Mills said, in a statement issued through her legal team: "There have been a number of articles published recently in respect of this appeal which give a very one-sided version of the facts in this case. The tone and content of the reporting has caused me considerable distress, with internet hate mail."

She stressed that she had not launched the latest round of litigation.

"It should be noted that since the divorce 15 years ago, I have never returned to the court to increase my maintenance, despite my financial difficulty and bad health and low earnings," said Mrs Mills.

"This was Mr Mills's application to the court to reduce or eliminate the maintenance despite the fact our son is still in full-time education and still living with me at home."