(Family Division; Eleanor King J; 15 August 2011)
The husband appealed against a financial order in divorce proceedings. The husband and wife had two children aged 12 and 9 and shared care arrangements. The combined assets of £3.4m included both parties' homes (the wife owned a farm and surrounding land) and the husband's business premises which were worth £3.3m but only equity of £450,000.
The husband had to pay £41,000 pa interest and capital repayments of £161,000 pa. The wife was a well known fashion designer, and her business premises in London cost £40,000 per annum in rent with modest profits. The husband was a GP with his own business offering private medical services. The wife sought a lump sum payment of £100,000 and joint lives' maintenance of £60,000 (excluding school fees). The district judge ordered a lump sum of £35,000 to the wife in account of tools of the wife that the husband had taken without permission, global periodical payments of £47,500 for wife and children on a joint lives basis and the husband was to pay the school fees.
The husband appealed on the basis that the judge had failed to take account of current and likely future income, the fact that the wife would have a greater share of the capital and failed to consider a deferred clean break. Allowing the appeal and substituting the order for periodical payments of £30,000. The judge had erred in failing to make findings as to income and needs of both parties and to assess the ability of the husband to afford the payments. There was evidence that the wife would become self sufficient in the future which justified fixing the periodical payments order for a term of 2 years and 5 months.