Jeffrey Mills Solicitors
JEFFREY MILLS SOLICITORS
- Divorce Payments Rise After 15 Years
March - May 2017
A friend of mine recently commented on an article on Facebook regarding a divorce case that had made the news.
The headline was “Surrey couple’s divorce payments raised after 15 years”.
My friend, who is a qualified solicitor with her own Will writing business, thought it was unfair that the ex-husband had to continue to support his ex wife, even though their child had grown-up.
As a family solicitor, I was of course intrigued, so clicked on the article to have a read.
To summarise, the article informed me that the couple separated in 2001 and divorced in 2002, and the wife had received a payout of £230,000 which equated to almost all the liquid capital at the time of the divorce, whilst the husband had retained the business.
The wife had also been awarded maintenance.
The article referred to the wife having made some unwise property investments and as a result was now without any of the capital and was living in rented accommodation, unable to meet
her own basic needs.
The court found that the husband had the ability to increase the monthly payments and this was therefore ordered.
To me, the article seemed to have been written to provoke a reaction, which it clearly got from my friend.
But the article contains very little information.
What we know:
- the wife got a payout, and £230,000 is a lot of money.
What we don’t know:
- what the value of the business was that the husband retained. He could have received far more than the wife in terms of value.
- we are informed that the son is “grown up” but this could simply mean he’s just turned 18. He could still well be living at home and in full time education, being fed/clothed/supported by his mum.
- why the wife is unable to meet her basic needs.
- what the husband earns.
- what the needs of both parties are.
- whether the wife gave up her career to stay at home during their marriage, therefore limiting her earning potential and pension provision.
In this day and age of social media and information technology, it is so easy for these types of stories to be shared.
If you are going through a separation or divorce, it is of course normal to discuss this with friends and to take an interest in other peoples similar experiences.
You do however have to be careful that you are getting all the facts.
I regularly have client’s telling me that they think there should be a certain outcome to their case, because that is what their friend or neighbour got.
In matrimonial finance cases, there is no set outcome.
Every case is different and the outcome is dependent on the specific circumstances of that case.
Sometimes couples will come to an agreement between themselves, but often they will need advice and guidance.
Initially only general advice can be given.
In order to give detailed advice a solicitor will need to see full financial disclosure from both parties to see exactly what the individual circumstances of that case are.
They can then advise what they think would be a fair or reasonable settlement.
There is of course criteria that must be taken into account by solicitors and judges, when negotiating or ordering a financial settlement.
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 contains this criteria.
Criteria that must be taken into consideration:
- income, earning capacity and financial resources available to each party, both now and in the reasonably foreseeable future;
- financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the parties;
- standard of living enjoyed by the family before the separation;
- age of the parties and the duration of the marriage;
- contributions made by each party and their conduct.
As you can see, there are a lot of variables, which is why I say every case is different.
It is human nature to discuss these types of things, after all a separation is a huge thing and people will need compassion and support.
Just be careful about making comparisons, and seek professional advice if you have questions or concerns about what you might or should be entitled to.
Should you require legal assistance from a firm with family values and a fresh approach, contact Jeffrey Mills Solicitors.
Tel: 01480 219600