Decision to back ex wife by three male judges is greeted with surprise by The Sun and the Daily Mail who were sympathetic to a ” millionaire left penniless “.
This month the Court of Appeal took a rather extraordinary decision to award virtually all the money made by a business couple to his wife after being told a harrowing tale that she had been driven into huge debt caused by continual litigation from the husband and his mother.
Charmaine Le Souza was awarded £1.73m and a disputed £2.3 million condominium in Florida by the Court of Appeal. Her husband was left with £26,000.
Her husband who changed his name to Richard Rothschild in 2016 – he is not related to the Rothschild banking family- was said in the court to have spent nearly £1m in litigation to try to prevent his wife getting the whole business or the apartment forcing her into £900.000 debt – which are rising at £7000 a month with interest.
He was backed by his 76 year old mother, Wanda. who took an active role in pursuing his wife after her son moved in with a young former Playboy model, Sherra Michelle.
Mr Rothschild – original name Richard Pierzchalo-Piasecki – and Mrs de Souza got together at university in 1995 and had been married for 16 years. They have two children aged 9 and 13.
They married in 2005 and separated, in what the judge described as “highly acrimonious circumstances”, in 2016. The judge treated “the relationship as one of 21 years with the quality of the relationship premarriage being indistinguishable from that post-marriage”.
Their two children were said to have “suffered grievously as a result of the breakdown of the marriage”.
What followed was three years of ” destructive litigation ” against the wife including a claim dismissed by a judge that the mother owned the business and even proceedings under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention after the husband abducted the children from Florida to England just after his wife had moved to America with her family.
Her lawyer told the court that the mother and husband lost successive cases but never paid any of the costs, never let the houses they owned in London, never took a job for three years, went on a spending spree to use up assets. Last December a family court judge ruled that the wife should get the business worth £1.85m and the properties in London and he should keep the £2.3 million apartment in Florida. But he laid down conditions that he should pay £225,000 to his ex wife in lieu of her getting her share, If he didn’t the property would be sold and the money given to his ex wife.
When both parties got to court on July it was discovered that he had transferred the flat to his mother without telling his or her lawyers in defiance of the court order.
The appeal was nearly cancelled as a result but went ahead and the three judges ruled that he should have less than he was awarded last December.
The judges argued that given she had a mountain of legal debt to pay off as a result of his actions and they didn’t believe he would contribute financially to the upbringing of his children when they were back in Florida – the award was not as generous as it looked. The business which was successful would provide her with a living.
Meanwhile he intends to marry the young model. She defended him after the case blaming unfair courts in the UK for his downfall.
She commented in the Daily Mail: “Rich and I are getting married no matter what. I stuck by him through all of these legal battles and I am here to stay. We have a real Soulmate connection that is pure and genuine. Rich is a born entrepreneur and he will always take care of his family and the ones he loves. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be with someone as kind, intelligent, handsome, loyal and good-hearted as Rich. Thank you to all of my friends and fans who see our true love for what it is and have supported us since day one. Charmaine we hope you find happiness soon too and stop punishing your children. Not letting Rich see his kids for 3 years is unacceptable.”
The ruling by the judges however will go into case law – and does suggest that in future women will get more than just a half share of the assets -if the man spends three years in vindictive litigation against the woman.