Thursday, 02 April 2015 00:00

Construction tycoon left 'homeless' after ex-wife wins 80% of his property in divorce

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David Stocker, left, and his ex-wife, Avril Photo: Champion News David Stocker, left, and his ex-wife, Avril Photo: Champion News

Millionaire David Stocker, 61, tells a court that his life of luxury is over after divorce battle and he has been left effectively 'homeless'

A millionaire building tycoon says he has been left too poor to get on the housing ladder after a divorce judge handed 80 per cent of the family property to his ex-wife.
Construction magnate David Stocker, 61, was used to living the high life during his marriage to former wife Avril.
They enjoyed such assets as a five-bedroom, £1 million, west London home, a £100,000 yacht and a grand £500,000 villa in Spain.
But he has now told a top judge that his life of luxury is over and he has been left effectively "homeless".
He said a divorce court ruling left his ex with property worth £1.8 million - more than seven times his own £250,000 share.
Mr Stocker argued that the division of assets was "unfair and disproportionate" especially as his former wife has no children to care for.
And he told an Appeal Court judge that he has been left unable to get back on the property ladder in the capital.
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However, Mr Justice Blake has now told him he must accept his new lot, with his ex-wife adding outside court: "When you get divorced, you become poor."
Mr Stocker said a family judge had handed four-fifths of the £2 million-plus family property to his ex-wife, 62, after their 15-year marriage ended in 2011.
He had been obliged to sell his boat - which Mrs Stocker valued at £100,000 outside court - and to hand her the keys to the former matrimonial home in Ruislip.
The building boss, whose business is based in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was also told to split the Spanish villa - which he valued at more than £500,000- with his ex.
Mr Stocker, representing himself in court, told Mr Justice Blake he was baffled by the decision, saying: "We have got no kids - why is it not 50/50?"
He told the judge: "My wife got a £1m house in Ruislip, half a villa that's worth hundreds of thousands more. My wife got £1.8m in property and I'm left with £250,000.
"I'm entitled to a home under human rights. I told the judge throughout the case that all I wanted was a home out of it," he went on.
He said he was no longer fielding a barrister in the divorce battle, which has been running for four years, because "I ran out of money to defend myself"
"The assets have 80 per cent gone her way. All I'm asking for is a home," he added.
Mr Justice Blake however told Mr Stocker that he had no hope of overturning the divorce ruling and would have to accept his reduced circumstances.
"Unfortunately, as happens so often in this type of litigation, everything here has the appearance of an applicant who refuses to have a sense of finality", he said.
"This court doesn't sit as a re-hearing court. You don't just come here and say, 'Can we start all over again please"'.
The judge concluded: "The husband argues that the division of the marital assets was unfair and disproportionate.
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"This was a case in which there were no children to be taken into account, the husband contends that a 50/50 split would have been appropriate.
"But none of the matters he raises constitutes a basis for appeal which has any prospect of success."
Mr Stocker vowed to fight on as he left court.
Mrs Stocker, who attended the hearing and sat at the back of the court throughout, said later that she didn't feel like she had come out of the marriage a winner.
"When you get divorced, you become poor...the only people who have won out of all this are the lawyers," she said.
She added that she and her ex-husband had known each other since the early 1980s, having met at a squash club, and married in 1994.
Defending her payout, she said she had worked hard during the marriage to make the family construction company a success.
"I'm an intelligent person and I've got a masters degree from a good business school," she added.
Of her high-flying former life, whilst married to Mr Stocker, she said: "We had a very good lifestyle. People used to say to me 'You've got everything.'"
"It's very sad. We had a long relationship, but all relationships are fraught. I'm very philosophical now, but it was a very hurtful time".


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