Family Law Hub

Maintenance

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  • An application by the former wife for a financial remedy order in respect of the parties’ only child, a six-year-old girl. The issue was to what extent the court should exercise its jurisdiction under section 23 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to impose conditions on the release to the parties of a frozen fund of some £3.74 million, the fund having derived from the settlement of a medical negligence claim launched on behalf of their daughter. In Roberts J's view, there had to be a formal mechanism for ensuring that the child continued to benefit from those funds. She rejected the idea of a section 89 disability trust. She made an order for child maintenance of £2,000 per month. A sum of £150,000 from the father's share of the settlement monies would be set aside as a secured maintenance fund, with the father being entitled to draw down against that fund for the child maintenance payments. £900,000 of the settlement monies could be used by the father towards purchasing a property of his own, with a charge on the property in the child's name for that amount. The mother would be permitted to use settlement monies to redeem her existing mortgage. As a condition of the release of these funds, each parent would be required to purchase life insurance with the daughter as beneficiary. Judgment, 08/08/2020, free
  • The couple had been separated since 2012 and divorced since 2014. They had two children, aged 13 and 15. The husband was in very substantial breach of his financial obligations under a previous order, to the extent of £2.6m. The husband claimed that he was insolvent and could be made bankrupt by any one of his many creditors. In HHJ Hess's view, the husband was asking her to re-open the overall quantum of a lump sum by instalments which had been part of a consent order which had been intended to be a final package. Since he was a substantial cause of his own problems, she could not regard those problems as rendering it unjust to hold him to the original order. Despite his current difficulties, the order would not be discharged by bankruptcy proceedings or by time limitation, so the former wife might one day be able to enforce it. The capital order was varied to adopt a new, agreed figure, and the child periodical payments order was varied in accordance with an agreement reached between the parties. Judgment, 08/08/2020, free
  • The financial remedies proceedings arising out of a divorce. The husband was a litigant in person. HHJ Hess ordered a spousal periodical payments order of £1,138 pcm, rising to £1,300 pcm in 2021, and £1,500 pcm in 2027, to continue until the death of either party, the wife's 60th birthday, or her remarriage. Top-up orders were made for the benefit of the children, and child periodical payment orders for the gap between secondary and tertiary education. The parties would each retain a 50% share in the family home. Pension sharing orders would provide equal incomes for the parties at a specified time in the future. Neither party had been entirely successful or entirely unsuccessful, and so there was no order for costs. Judgment, 04/06/2020, free
  • The substantive final hearing of the former wife's application under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 for financial relief. The wife and two children lived in England and had dual Russian and British citizenship. The husband was Russian, had kept a second family in Moscow, and had obtained a Russian divorce without the wife's knowledge. He had not participated in these proceedings. He had made no disclosure and had not paid a penny following an interim order for maintenance and legal costs funding. Holman J ordered the husband to pay or cause to be paid a lump sum to the wife of £2,250,000, and to pay her costs on the indemnity basis. Judgment, 11/03/2020, free
  • The former husband applied to set aside part of a consent order relating to maintenance payments. The former wife cross-appealed for enforcement of maintenance arrears. The husband claimed that the consent order had been fraudulently changed without his knowledge, and that his wife had sent emails in his name to the firm involved in drafting the consent order. In emails to her the husband had expressed his belief that the maintenance changes were a mere "paperwork exercise" to enable her to get a new mortgage. Moor J found that the expert handwriting evidence as to the signature on the consent order was of no assistance, but he was satisfied that the wife had perpetrated a fraud on the husband, and that she had sent fraudulent emails on his behalf. The relevant paragraph of the order was set aside, and replaced with a clean break order. The wife owed the husband £248,930 from the sale of the matrimonial home, to be paid within 28 days. Judgment, 11/12/2019, free

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