Sadly there was a very cruel punchline for Mr Traversa who after over 20 years of marriage to his wealthy wife came out of an Italian court with no capital but a maintenance order to his wife. Having been forced out of the matrimonial home and having earlier applications dismissed there may now be some hope.
Last week the England & Wales Court of Appeal granted Mr Traversa leave to apply for financial support under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, which means that the UK court will consider his application and potentially order him a reasonable payout.
The parties married in Italy in 1987, separated in 2001 and finally divorced in 2008. Mr Traversa now a waiter in London at the time of the hearing owed £57,000 in maintenance arrears to his millionairess wife following the terms of the Italian court order and a prenuptial agreement.
In April 2009 his application to the High Court was rejected but since then the Supreme Court has delivered judgments in the Radmacher case, which also dealt with a foreign pre nuptial agreement, and in Agbaje v Agbaje where another Part III case was considered.
The Court of Appeal have agreed with his arguments that the High Court judge wrongly concluded that Italy was the convenient forum for the divorce and the Brescia Court dealt with him unfairly.
Whilst we await the outcome, we are now seeing an increasing number of cases of people who are unhappy with awards made in foreign jurisdictions and are seeking advice on applications to the English courts for a second bite of the cherry where one of them has a significant connection with this country.
At present across Europe the party who issues first will generally determine the jurisdiction for where the case is to be heard and on occasions it will be advantageous to one party for this to continue, however now that those with a connection to the UK may have perhaps a lifeline if everything does not go to plan.
For more information or advice on a part III application please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org