A millionaire City analyst has won his appeal against a West End actor in a landmark gay divorce, but was ordered to pay his former partner a £1.4 million settlement. The couple had been together for 11 years, but only survived seven months as civil partners.
Equity analyst Peter Lawrence, 47, must pay Don Gallagher, 54, an actor who starred in the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert stage show, over £1.4 million – which is £320,000 less than the settlement insisted upon by a judge last year.
Mr Lawrence makes nearly £400,000 a year in his role as a City analyst for JP Morgan, but Mr Gallagher had earned less over his career as a stage and TV actor.
Mr Lawrence initially contested the case, in which he was told his former partner was entitled to £1.7 million in the dissolution of the partnership, most of which would come from the value of their central London flat.
The couple’s total assets were valued at £4.1 million, including a five-bedroom house near Amberley, West Sussex, and a riverside flat near Borough Market.
In the Appeal Court ruling today, Lord Justice Thorpe said Mr Gallagher should keep the £900,000 West Sussex house. Mr Lawrence keeps his flat, which is now worth £2.4 million.
Despite Mr Gallagher’s relatively low income as an actor compared with that of his former partner, he was, said High Court Judge Mrs Justice Parker, entitled to “enjoy a comfortable standard of living without financial anxiety”. According to The Times, the actor was the home-maker half of the couple, and “helped create and maintain a lovely home in the flat in various ways, soft furnishings, planting on balconies, improvement of layout and fixtures, redecoration.”
Mr Gallagher’s QC, Tom Bishop, criticised Mr Lawrence during the hearing for trying to divest his former partner of the settlement.