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High Court rules millionaire heiress can emigrate with children in high-profile divorce dispute

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A long-running divorce dispute between Petra Ecclestone – the millionaire heiress of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone – and her wealthy ex-husband James Stunt is beginning to draw to a close, following an important child custody ruling.

In recent days, a High Court Judge has granted Ms Ecclestone sole custody of the duo’s three children – alongside permission to move from the UK to Los Angeles with them.

The embattled couple’s initial divorce hearing took place in June 2017, but neither Ms Ecclestone nor Mr Stunt was present.

A Decree Nisi was reportedly agreed uncontested in less than five minutes, and the duo’s five-year marriage was dissolved in October.

At the time, a spokesperson announced that Mr Stunt was “committed to remaining firm friends with Petra and is concerned that the misleading media coverage of their divorce has not accurately reflected the issues which were in dispute.”

The comments related to accusations that Mr Stunt had been “violent and abusive” and had acted “disgracefully” during a court battle over the couple’s shared £5.5 million assets and over who would get custody of their three children, Lavinia, Andrew and James.

In a public statement issued earlier this week, Her Honour Judge Gillian Brasse, said: “There have been lengthy proceedings in relation to the arrangements following the preceding divorce of Petra and Mr Stunt.”

She confirmed that financial matters between the couple had been agreed, but did not disclose any finer details of how these matters had been resolved.

“Also an agreement at the end of last year that Miss Ecclestone could relocate to Los Angeles with her children was agreed,” she said.

“After a hearing, I’ve ordered that the children will live with their mother Miss Ecclestone and I will make an order as to how much time they can spend with their father,” she said.  

A parent must apply to the Family Court for permission to permanently relocate abroad if the other parent disagrees. MFG Solicitors have the expertise required to advise and represent parents in this type of case.

MFG Solicitors’ family team can advise on divorce, separation, the dissolution of civil partnerships, permission to relocate children abroad and all other aspects of family law. For more information about how we could help you, please contact us.