They had hoped that intimate details of their financial affairs and private lives could be examined out of the public eye. But a judge presiding over the divorce proceedings between Earl Spencer and his former wife Caroline has ruled that there are no grounds for a secret hearing.The judge told them that despite their celebrity status this was a "fairly routine, big money case".New laws aim to open family courts to public scrutiny, meaning they can only ask for specific details - for example, those relating to their children - to be withheld from the public arena.Countess Spencer was granted a decree nisi in March 2007 on the grounds of her husband's "unreasonable behaviour".The Earl - the brother of the late Princess Diana - called time on their marriage in June 2006 when the couple's daughter Lara was four months old and their son was aged two.Following their separation the aristocrat started a relationship with attractive American TV presenter Colleen Sullivan - though this ended last summer. He is now seeing Bianca, Lady Eliot, a 32-year-old former model and the widow of late peer Jago, Lord Eliot with whom she had three children.No decree absolute has yet been granted to the Spencers because of a sticking point over the former marital home, a Georgian house previously owned by Pink Floyd guitarist, Dave Gilmour.One of the 44-year-old's four children from his first marriage to Victoria Lockwood, 18-year-old Kitty was in court to support her father.There was widespread publication of his divorce from Victoria in 1997, with the world's media camped in South Africa, where they maintained a home. He eventually agreed out of court to pay his ex-wife $1.8 million and give her a $250,000 home in Cape Town.
Earl Spencer's battle over divorce money to be heard in public