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Are spousal periodical payments for life of just for Christmas?

Date:25 FEB 2015
Assistant solicitor
Disputes over spousal maintenance can often be the main bar to parties reaching a settlement on divorce. The wealthier party usually finds the thought of continuing to have to pay some of their monthly income to an ex-spouse galling whilst the financially weaker party may be worried about making ends meet and whether achieving financial independence will ever be possible.

Balancing these two competing sides is something every family judge must do in cases where there is not enough capital to capitalize a maintenance claim and they are afforded a wide discretion in order to allow for a fair outcome in each individual case. This article will look at how judges have used their discretion in some recent cases with regard to the term of a periodical payments order and whether this is an area that requires further legislation as proposed by Baroness Deech in the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill.

The legislation

Under s 23(1)(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (the 1973 Act) the court can order periodical payments and for such term as the court thinks appropriate. Under s 28(1)(a) of the 1973 Act the payments...

Read the full article here.