Family Law Hub

AA v AB (Costs) [2021] EWFC B16

The application of the former wife for a financial remedy order arising from her marriage to her former husband. Both were UK nationals, who had met in 2005, married in 2011 and separated in 2019. They had lived in the United Arab Emirates for the duration of the marriage, and their child had been born there in 2015. The overall position was a joint deficit approaching £60,000; the only significant asset was a flat in Wales vested in the husband’s name. As well as the relevant factors in s 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Mr Recorder Salter bore in mind that the court's overall objective was to achieve a fair outcome. There was no place for discrimination between the husband and the wife and their respective roles. However, there were two primary factors which justified a departure from equality in this case: that it was a needs case, and the prior agreement reached between the parties. Over and above the amounts contained in the prior agreement – including an annual lump sum he reduced to £5,000 in view of the wife's move to England, where living costs were lower – he ordered that the husband should pay the wife a lump sum of £12,500 within 56 days: £8,750 for six months’ rent, £2,250 for furniture, £1,500 towards the transportation of their pets to England. He would also have to pay £7,000 towards a car and driving lessons, and periodical payments in relation to the child of £1,000 per month. Mr Recorder Salter described the level of costs in the proceedings as "ruinous to the parties" and "utterly disproportionate to the assets involved". Issues had been pursued which did not merit any significant expenditure of costs, and warnings had gone ignored. He concluded that the wife should make a contribution of £10,000 towards the husband’s costs.

Judgment, published: 19/04/2021

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Published: 19/04/2021

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