vary

Attempts to vary spousal maintenance fail at the Supreme Court

In a pronouncement described by some as ending the “meal ticket for life”, the Supreme Court has ruled that a divorced husband should not have to increase his spousal maintenance payments to his former wife, after she mismanaged her finances post-divorce settlement, rejecting the wife’s application to vary the previously agreed arrangement. The Supreme Court heard that after the parties’ …

dispute

Dispute over forum considered by Court of Appeal

Highlighting once again the importance of the jurisdictional forum of divorce proceedings, the courts have recently considered the matter of Mr and Mrs Thum and their jurisdictional dispute.   Catja Thum, won the race to lodge her divorce petition in England, before her financier husband, Oliver Thum, did the same in Germany, after she found out that Mr Thum had taken …

civil

Marriage and civil partnerships soon open to all?

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that restricting civil partnerships exclusively to same-sex couples is discriminatory, putting the government under significant pressure to allow heterosexual couples to enter into the same unions. The court found unanimously in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, confirming that their human rights had been breached in not being able to enter into a civil …

settlement

Court reject claim for financial settlement 27 years after separation

In the recently reported case of  A v B (No 2) [2018], the court concluded that a former husband, who brought an application for financial remedy 26 years after the grant of decree nisi, did not merit any financial provision. The parties had met in 1980 and married in 1983, later having two children in 1986 and 1989.  The marriage broke …

maintenance

Supreme Court’s judgment on varying spousal maintenance.

The Supreme Court is expected to shortly deliver its judgment on the matter of Mills. The case relates to the proper approach to a party’s application to vary periodical payments (spousal maintenance) orders made under s.31(7) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, after the grant of a decree of divorce. After the parties’ 2002 divorce, they settled the matrimonial finances …

cohabiting

Cohabiting couples – rights at separation

There is much chatter in family law circles presently regarding the possibility of a change in law, bringing about a “no fault” based divorce system. Opponents to this scheme often cite the risk such a system may create by encouraging parties to marry (and thereby risk divorce) with little “risk”. Their argument extends to suggest that cohabiting couples will be …

family

The end of the nuclear family

Sir James Munby, the president of the High Court’s family division made a speech at Liverpool University in honour of 20th century social reformer, Eleanor Rathbone, earlier this week in which he called for family law to “adapt itself to these realities” and described the pace of change “maddeningly slow”. He went on to say that the modern British family was complex …

agreement

Wife fails to increase settlement from pre-nuptial agreement

The Court of Appeal recently returned a decision on a wife’s appeal of a High Court judgment, providing her with in excess of £50m and business interests, following her 20 year marriage to successful businessman, Gerard Versteegh. The husband and wife, both in their 50s, were both born, brought up and educated in Sweden. The parties married in Sweden in …

grandchildren

Grandchildren and grandparent relationship to be enshrined in law in the near future?

This week,there has been wide ranging, media reports on the cross-party support to enshrine the right of a grandparent to see their grandchildren after a divorce or separation between parents. Changes to legislation would be required, as grandparents are currently required to obtain the court’s permission to make an application under section 8 of Children Act 1989 for contact, unless the …

needs

Guidance on financial needs from The Family Justice Council

The Family Justice Council (FJC) has published its second edition of “Guidance on Financial Needs on Divorce”, described by President James Munby as, “…an invaluable tool for the judiciary in relation to the making of orders to meet financial needs following divorce and the dissolution of civil partnerships.“ The guidance is intended to clarify the meaning of “financial needs” on …