Maintenance Payments to ex-wives of the “well to do”
A recent report shows that, no longer does the wife have an entitlement to a “meal ticket for life” in wealthy divorce cases.
This has been highlighted in the case of Mr “A” a millionaire who was ordered at divorce settlement to pay Mrs. A the sum of £33,200 pa for maintenance and child costs. It is understood that the court report shows that these fees were to be paid indefinitely and only cease on the death of either Mr or Mrs. A.
In 2017, Mr. A. applied for a reduction in the maintenance and for the Order to cease by the time he had retired. At the High Court the Judge was sympathetic to his position and a decision was made in his favour to reduce the amount of maintenance payments. The High Court Judge told Mrs. A that she must find a job and said there was no good reason why she had not undertaken some work since the divorce.
Mrs. A appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal but this was rejected with the Justices agreeing that Mrs. A should obtain some paid work, adding “there is a general expectation that once children are in year 2, mothers can begin in part-time work and make a financial contribution”
The law however does not change but it highlights a growing trend amongst Judges that the wife should obtain work once the children are no longer very young and also that ex-wives cannot expect to be supported by their ex spouses indefinitely.
The decision will add weight to the reduction in the amount of maintenance paid by ex-husband’s and their cessation completely after he has retired. It is certain to be referred to in many cases from hereon in.