Family Law Hub

Periodical Payments

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  • 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, 19/04/2021, free
  • An application by the former husband for permission to appeal out of time against the order for him to pay to the wife a lump sum of £3.09m, as well as periodical payments of £4,750 per calendar month and other amounts. The husband argued that he could not afford to meet the terms of the order, and that the judge had taken half the value of the husband’s shareholdings in two private companies with no evidence-based indication as to how the husband would be able to raise the required lump sum. The wife's position was that the appeal was not just out of time, but hopelessly so, and that the evidence at trial had indicated that the husband had been planning to sell his business interests in order to satisfy the lump sum payment, rather than relying upon dividends. In Mr Recorder Salter's judgment, the delay here was "serious and lacking in any good explanation". He had no hesitation in reaching the conclusion that he was unable to grant relief from sanctions and that accordingly the application for permission to appeal had to be dismissed. Judgment, 21/11/2020, free
  • A consent order drafted by the wife's counsel had stated that periodical payments from the husband to the wife would cease upon the husband's remarriage, due to a drafting error. Upon notice of his remarriage and his intention to cease the payments, the wife successfully applied without notice to have the order amended under the slip rule. The husband applied out of time for permission to appeal and to set the previous orders aside. Knowles J found that the court had had jurisdiction to amend the order, despite the husband's assertion that it was no longer extant. The error in the consent order had been wholly accidental and genuine, though it was unfortunate it had not been detected and corrected earlier. The case law was plain that the slip rule could be used to correct an order to give effect to the court's intention, and that was the case here. If not corrected, the error would deprive the wife of her entitlement to ongoing periodical payments and thus fail to give effect to the court's intention. The husband's appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 18/11/2020, free
  • A judgment following the final hearing in financial remedy proceedings. The couple were married in 2017, and separated the same year according to the husband, but in 2018 according to the wife. They continued to live separately under the same roof. In the view of District Judge John Smart, the husband seemed to have spent substantially on enlarging the matrimonial home to accommodate the wife and her son, while the wife made no substantial contribution to the welfare of the family. The district judge was not convinced that the wife's indebtedness should be cleared by the husband. He did not find that the husband or his solicitors had exacerbated her Complex PTSD, and he rejected other allegations of misconduct. Although the family home was to be treated as matrimonial property, their contributions were not equal, and a significant departure from equal sharing was required in fairness. A split of 20% of the net assets would be right. The husband would have to raise the sum of £110,000 within a year or the family home would have to be sold. There would not be a pension sharing order; the parties had not sought such an order and almost all of the pension accrual was pre-marital. The husband would pay interim maintenance/periodical payments at £12,000 per year to the wife for the first year and £9,000 per year for the second year. She should leave the former matrimonial home within a month of the first payment. Judgment, 19/06/2020, free
  • An application for interim provision pursuant to section 5 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. It was clear to Francis J that he had the discretion to order both periodic payments and lump sum payments to the widow, the husband's second wife, and he ordered payments of £5200 a month to be made until the case settled. The first and second defendants undertook to make no further distributions to the beneficiaries from the estate until the conclusion of the claim. Francis J also expressed concern about the level of costs incurred with regard to the application. Judgment, 18/12/2019, free

Latest know-how

  • Gwynneth Knowles J considered the application of the slip rule where a court order made in 2017 had referred incorrectly in one paragraph to the ‘applicant’ instead of to the ‘respondent’. The order had consequently erroneously set out that the husband was to stop paying periodical payments to the wife upon his own remarriage, rather than upon the remarriage of the wife. Case note, 19/11/2020, free
  • Holman J refused to order the husband’s committal to prison for failing to pay maintenance Case note, 16/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: No formal process for applying for permission to enforce arrears that are 12months+ Case note, 26/10/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Original order (no variation either way) restored. An obligation to duplicate financial provision is exceptional Case note, 06/08/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Avoid double counting Case note, 06/08/2018, members only

Latest training

  • Alexis Campbell QC and Charlotte Trace, of 29 Bedford Row, review the key financial remedy cases and themes from the past 12 months and look at how they will affect judicial thinking and your own cases in the year to come. Webcast, 16/03/2018, members only
  • Webcast, 11/06/2012, members only

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