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Financial Provision

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  • The wife appealed from an order that had reduced the lump sum awarded to the husband from £814,000 to £733,650 (£630,000 and £550,000 net after payment of capital gains tax) and reduced the husband's pension share from 48.6% to 34%. The wife had retained 73% of the non-pension assets plus the balance of her pensions. Both the district judge and the judge had considered that a significant departure from an equal sharing of the matrimonial assets was justified. Following receipt of the judge's judgment both the husband and the wife had sent what were said to be requests for clarification. The judge concluded that these requests were in fact an impermissible "critique of the judgment and an attempt at further argument". In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had clearly decided that it was too late for further evidence to be adduced, and this decision was one which had been open to him and it had not been shown to be wrong. Parties should not expect a judge to permit further evidence to be adduced at such a late stage of the proceedings, particularly following an appeal. Lewison and Nugee LJ agreed, and the wife's appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 01/02/2021, free
  • The judge had allowed the husband's appeal from a maintenance pending suit order, principally on the basis that the the deputy district judge had "failed to apply the law appropriately" and had not undertaken any "critical analysis of the wife's needs". The wife now appealed against that decision. In Moylan LJ's view, the deputy district judge had undertaken a sufficient analysis of the relevant factors to support her decision, including the wife's listed needs and likely income, and the husband's budget. She had been entitled to include the amount sought for school fees, and had reached a fair decision as to what level of maintenance would be reasonable. In those circumstances, there was no basis on which the judge could properly interfere with the decision. Asplin and Macur LJJ agreed. The appeal would be allowed, with the judge's order being set aside, including the costs order. The maintenance pending suit order made by the deputy district judge would be restored, save for a paragraph dealing with the mortgage. Judgment, 22/01/2021, free
  • The case concerned child support for a child born in 1989. Although the child had been living with the father by 2005, arrears had accumulated before then, for which the father was now being pursued. A regular deduction order (RDO) had been made in the sum of £150.26 per week, against which the father sought permission to appeal, albeit later than allowed under the rules. HHJ Mark Rogers granted relief from sanctions, saying that it was important for this case to be resolved on its merits rather than as a result of a procedural default. Permission to appeal was also granted. He found that the rigorous test laid out in s 41E of the Child Support Act 1991 had not been satisfied: the arrears had not been extinguished and were capable of recovery. But in his view, no attention had been paid to the impact of relevant events in 2007, including an apparent declaration that the mother had withdrawn her authority for the arrears to be collected. The appeal was allowed. Making a new decision, he found that the points against making an RDO substantially outweighed those in favour, and so he declined to make one. Judgment, 22/01/2021, free
  • The husband and wife had been engaged in highly acrimonious and litigious financial remedy proceedings since late 2019. This hearing concerned the husband's application for the wife to pay, on an indemnity basis, his costs of a preliminary issue regarding the beneficial ownership of five ships and whether the couple were indebted to the second to sixth respondents. The latter issue had been settled following a payment from those respondents to the wife. Lieven J stated that the wife's conduct had been "fairly extraordinary". She had alleged a conspiracy to defraud her of millions of pounds of matrimonial assets, and then decided not to pursue those allegations, having already put the husband to enormous expense and depriving him of the chance to clear his name. It was a basic principle, said Lieven J, that fraud should not be pleaded without sufficient evidence. Where a party pleaded fraud, and then withdrew that claim, the argument that they should pay the other party's costs was even stronger than in the withdrawal of other types of claim. The wife would pay the husband's costs of and occasioned by the preliminary issues on an indemnity basis. Judgment, 15/01/2021, free
  • The Court of Appeal considered how a court should assess reasonable and immediate needs when faced with an application for maintenance pending suit. News, 14/01/2021, free

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