There are three main areas to consider when dealing with the financial aspects of divorce proceedings: capital (property and investments), pensions and income. Equalising income is rarely possible because usually neither the husband nor wife will have sufficient earnings to share between them in this way. There is also an expectation from the courts that spouses should use their earning capacity to a reasonable degree, which means that a wife, to which this applies more frequently than to a husband, has to somehow find paid employment to help make ends meet.
In general terms, the courts do not like orders for ongoing spousal maintenance and prefer a clean break. A recent case that reached the Court of Appeal has shown however that spousal maintenance is alive and well and can even be liable to increase 15 years after divorce.
51 year old Maria Mills, as well as having a lump sum of £230,000 in 2002 in her divorce settlement, received £1,100 a month maintenance. She has just succeeded in convincing the Court of Appeal that, despite having squandered her capital, she should receive another £441 a month maintenance. On Mr Mills side, he was able to keep his estate agency business intact.
Arriving at a fair financial settlement in divorce proceedings can be tricky – it’s best to ask the experts in what should be a once in a lifetime event that you need to get right first time.