The end of the lifelong meal ticket?
Posted on 13th April 2018
Obtaining an order for spousal maintenance to last for the rest of your life is becoming rare. There is an acceptance in the judicial arena that the recipient of maintenance should be able to get back on their feet and start earning a living.
The recent case of Mrs Waggott, and her desire to appeal her very generous award is surprising. In 2016, she received an equal share of the matrimonial assets, amounting to £9.65m and maintenance for the rest of her life of £175,000pa. A fairly sizeable share of the wealth and generous maintenance. Mrs Waggott was displeased with this award and wanted 35% of her husband’s bonuses (for a period of time) plus maintenance of £190,000 pa. The outcome was that Mrs Waggott’s original maintenance order is to be terminated on 1st March 2021, in 3 years times. The court expects that she can meet her income needs, using her own earning capacity if she chooses but more importantly from the return of her current investments.
Although the courts will generally rule in favour of the financially more vulnerable partner in a divorce, particularly if there are children involved, it does appear that the era of the ‘meal ticket for life’ for those marrying, and divorcing, wealthy spouses is finally on the wane.