German financier and estranged wife in divorce battleground dispute

A German financier whose marriage broke down after his wife discovered that he was having an affair is embroiled in a divorce battle in a London court.

Three Court of Appeal judges have been asked to make decisions relating to whether Oliver and Catja Thum should fight over money in Germany or England.

Lawyers say judges will have to decide whether a divorce petition launched in England in October 2015 by 47-year-old Mrs Thum, who is also German, should take priority over a petition launched in Germany by Mr Thum nearly three months later.

Mr Thum, who set up a business called Elvaston Capital - which is based in Berlin, says Mrs Thum is "guilty of tactical manoeuvring" and kept the fact that she had issued her petition in England "secret".

Mrs Thum disputes his allegations.

Lady Justice King, Lord Justice David Richards and Lord Justice Moylan are analysing the case at a Court of Appeal hearing.

The three judges heard that Mrs Thum began divorce proceedings after learning of an affair.

They were told how she had discovered that he had taken his mistress to an office party and on a birthday trip to Rome.

Mr Thum has asked appeal judges to review decisions made by a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Mostyn had analysed the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in October 2016.

He concluded that any money fight should be staged in England and said German judges should decline jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Mostyn said, in a ruling on the case, how lawyers had debated a practice known as filing a petition "prematurely".

He told how one barrister had once used a "colourful metaphor" to describe the practice by saying it was the "equivalent of laying one's towel at dawn upon the sun lounger of the English court and returning at high noon to bask in the warmth of the law of England and Wales".

:: Three Court of Appeal judges in London this week analysed an Anglo-Scottish divorce battle between an aristocrat and his estranged wife. Charles Villiers and Emma Villiers, who lived together in Dumbarton before separating, disagree about whether their arguments over money should be staged in an English or Scottish court. Judges are expected to publish a ruling later in the year.

:: An estranged French couple recently became embroiled in an Anglo-French divorce dispute. A High Court judge in London heard how Dominique and Doh Mensah had been granted divorce decrees in France and England and was asked to decide which order should stand. He said a decree made by a judge in France should be upheld. She said said a decree granted in England should be recognised. Mrs Justice Theis decided that the earlier French divorce should be recognised and the English decree nullified.

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