A is for Amour (or less)

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Valentines’ Day has been and gone for another year and some of us may be rather relieved. 

One such person might be Naiyana Garth, the very recently former long-term partner of actor Idris Elba. If the rumour mill is to be believed, the future James Bond hopeful has ditched the mother of his 22 month old son, Winston, perhaps for the  charms (when not randomly aggressive) of model Naomi Campbell. These are extremely personal matters for the separating couple (regardless of Mr Elba’s fame), and as a family lawyer my two main thoughts are: I hope Winston continues to have a relationship with his father, and do Miss Garth and Mr Elba have a Living Together Agreement (also known as a Cohabitation agreement) as they are not married?

Miss Garth is a make-up artist and so we can hazard a guess that her income is less than that of Hollywood-beckons-Mr Elba. More questions! Will he pay her maintenance in respect of her needs and those of their son, as English law doesn’t oblige him to pay any spousal maintenance as they are not spouses-? Will Miss Garth be compelled to apply to the Court under the Children’s Act 1989 for financial provision for Winston (and herself as such), as matrimonial law and all its remedies will not apply? He has moved out of their London home. Is it registered in joint names? Is it in trust for Winston?

The current ruling in the Judicial Review case of Miss Steinfield and Mr Keidan (an unmarried couple who argued that their Human Rights were being breached because opposite sex couples cannot enter into Civil Partnerships), means that, at least for now, co-habitees continue to not be afforded the same legal entitlements as those in Civil Partnerships, or in marriages. Proposals for reform of this area have been suggested by the Law Commission, and the Cohabitation Bill is on its lengthy Parliamentary journey as I type, with specific reference being made to those living together being able to assert their financial claims in a way akin to matrimonial rights. Inheritance is also being reviewed, but the changes, if they come, may not be as revolutionary as many might hope. Hence the ongoing imperative need for Living Together Agreements and, as applies to everyone, updated Wills! Some pension planning would not go amiss either.

Meanwhile, the smart money would be on Miss Garth and Mr Elba sitting down, in private, with a Mediator and/or engaging in Collaborative work with lawyers so that every detail is kept away from the spotlight of the Courts and the press, for the sake of their own dignity and that of their son. A slightly “shaken, but not stirred” outcome, one might say-? (It had to be done.)

If you have more questions than answers about your post-Valentines’ situation, do contact me, or any of the Family Department at Bennett Griffin, in confidence, on 01903 229938. We look forward to helping you in our uniquely expert and approachable way.


 Jackie_Mensah_portraitArticle by Jackie Mensah, Associate Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer





The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.