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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
  • The wife appealed from an order that had reduced the lump sum awarded to the husband from £814,000 to £733,650 (£630,000 and £550,000 net after payment of capital gains tax) and reduced the husband's pension share from 48.6% to 34%. The wife had retained 73% of the non-pension assets plus the balance of her pensions. Both the district judge and the judge had considered that a significant departure from an equal sharing of the matrimonial assets was justified. Following receipt of the judge's judgment both the husband and the wife had sent what were said to be requests for clarification. The judge concluded that these requests were in fact an impermissible "critique of the judgment and an attempt at further argument". In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had clearly decided that it was too late for further evidence to be adduced, and this decision was one which had been open to him and it had not been shown to be wrong. Parties should not expect a judge to permit further evidence to be adduced at such a late stage of the proceedings, particularly following an appeal. Lewison and Nugee LJ agreed, and the wife's appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 01/02/2021, free
  • The judge had allowed the husband's appeal from a maintenance pending suit order, principally on the basis that the the deputy district judge had "failed to apply the law appropriately" and had not undertaken any "critical analysis of the wife's needs". The wife now appealed against that decision. In Moylan LJ's view, the deputy district judge had undertaken a sufficient analysis of the relevant factors to support her decision, including the wife's listed needs and likely income, and the husband's budget. She had been entitled to include the amount sought for school fees, and had reached a fair decision as to what level of maintenance would be reasonable. In those circumstances, there was no basis on which the judge could properly interfere with the decision. Asplin and Macur LJJ agreed. The appeal would be allowed, with the judge's order being set aside, including the costs order. The maintenance pending suit order made by the deputy district judge would be restored, save for a paragraph dealing with the mortgage. Judgment, 22/01/2021, free
  • The Court of Appeal considered how a court should assess reasonable and immediate needs when faced with an application for maintenance pending suit. News, 14/01/2021, free
  • The husband appealed from a financial remedy order made in February 2020, on the ground that the judge had failed to assess or take into account the husband's needs and only considered the wife's needs. Part of the order had been for the husband to sell a property in Miami, with the wife to receive the lump sum. The day before the hearing the court – and the husband's own solicitors – learned that the husband's beneficial interest in that property had been transferred to his mother. In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had been entitled to take the husband's litigation conduct into account. The disparity in outcome could be justified in this case. The judge had found that the burden of maintaining the children was likely to be met by the wife. Moylan LJ did not accept the submission that the judge's consideration of the husband's needs had been inadequate. Patten LJ and Newey LJ agreed. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 25/09/2020, free

Latest know-how

  • The husband appealed a final financial remedy order made by Cohen J. The sole ground of appeal was that the judge failed to assess or take into account the husband’s needs, and only considered the wife’s needs. Case note, 20/10/2020, free
  • In a tweet: Consideration of “substantial” in leave for Part II MFPA 1984 proceedings. Case note, 18/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: Needs based order appropriate if pre-nuptial agreement fails to provide for reasonable needs. Case note, 02/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: The courts’ poor service - which had effectively forced the parties into arbitration – did not dilute the magnetic importance of the arbitration agreement. Case note, 04/07/2019, members only
  • A case summary of Vasilyeva v Shemyakin [2019] EWHC 932 (Fam), by a Pupil at 1 Hare Court. Case note, 10/05/2019, members only

Latest training

  • Joe Switalski, of 29 Bedford Row, reviews the current case law and judicial thinking surrounding 'short marriages' in financial remedy proceedings. Recorded 19 March 2018. Webcast, 21/03/2018, members only
  • 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
  • Matthew Long, from 29 Bedford Row, reviews the caselaw regarding maintenance and variation of maintenance Webcast, 28/09/2017, members only
  • Recording of webinar first broadcast on 8 February 2017 Webcast, 10/02/2017, members only

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