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Maintenance - Meal ticket for life?

The recent case of Waggott v Waggott [2018] EWCA Civ 727 was heard in the Court of Appeal. The question before Lord Justice Moylan, Sir James Munby and Mr Justice Macdonald was; is earning capacity capable of being a matrimonial asset to which the sharing principle applies?

In 2012 W had received a capital settlement of ~£10M and a joint lives maintenance order of £115,000. W was seeking an increase of £23,000 of the maintenance order.

The Court of Appeal ordered that maintenance payments should stop in 2021 to achieve a clean break. They felt that W would not suffer undue hardship, W could invest ~10% of her ‘huge payout’ and live off the interest and if she required more funds she could get a job.

Showing that unless the parties have a real need then the sharing principle will not apply to post-separation earning capacity, as doing so would undermine the clean break principle. 

The Supreme Court heard the case of Mills v Mills on 6 June 2018, Which concerns a husband liability to pay maintenance, including his ex-wives rent, where the couple had divorced some years earlier.

The couple divorced in 2002 and the ‘Wife’ received a payment which would enable her to purchase a home mortgage free. However, that may have been [ ?] spent and the ‘Wife’ is now living in rented property. The decision of Court is awaited.

If you would like to discuss how Davies and Partners' specialist Family Law and Divorce Team could assist you in financial matters following a divorce, then do not hesitate to contact one of our dedicated team in our, London, Birmingham, Bristol or Gloucester offices.


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