Periodical payments: Unclear path

Suzanne Todd and Sarfraz Ali study the recent approach of the English and Italian judiciary to societal changes ‘While the tide may be turning, recent decisions in England and in Italy have not, as some may have hoped, sounded the death knell for joint lives maintenance orders.’ Scan any family law report, article or other …
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Short Marriage: The lottery of needs

Moji Sobowale looks at the approach to short marriage cases, in particular as to needs in the context of standard of living ‘The fact that a marriage has been short will unavoidably affect the quantum of the financial fruits that the partnership has been able to produce.’Although marriage is a contract, it is not a …
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Periodical Payments: For better, for worse

Caroline Holley examines dependence, independence and variation in the context of joint lives maintenance orders ‘It has become common practice for a financial remedy order to include a recital indicating the timeframe within which it is intended that a spouse will return to work, or a commitment by them to endeavour to maximise their earning …
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Variation: Challenging odds

Daniel Sanders considers the courts’ approach to variation applications and the limited circumstances in which such an application is likely to succeed ‘A clear and highly compelling change in circumstances must have arisen in order to justify variation of the terms of the original maintenance order, whether as to quantum or term.’For many clients a …
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Periodical Payments: Future proofing

Fiona Wood summarises the courts’ approach to periodical payments orders and the limited circumstances in which a stepped order will be appropriate ‘The decision in Aburn illustrates the difficulties that arise when trying to predict what will happen in the future.’ In Aburn v Aburn [2016], a smaller money case where a stepped periodical payments …
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Standard Of Living: Lifestyle factors

Hazel Wright and Phoebe Sutton suggest that despite the provisions of section 25 the standard of living of the parties is becoming less relevant ‘It is hard to see future courts awarding periodical payments based on the standard of living in the great majority of marriages.’When family lawyers of a certain generation die, they will …
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Periodical Payments: Road to independence

Lisa Bray summarises the current case law on joint lives periodical payments orders and considers whether there is an increasing trend towards term orders ‘While the starting point is to put each party on the road to independence, the reality is that in recent years we have seen many judges showing a reluctance to make …
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Scotland: A different way

Philippa Cunniff contrasts the approach of the courts in Scotland to spousal maintenance to that of England and Wales ‘The Scottish courts have generally adopted a cautious approach to awards of periodical allowance, with the result that Scotland has gained a reputation for its lack of generosity towards the economically weaker spouse.’There is a general …
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Bonus Payments: Setting limits

Helen Marriott highlights the challenges of dealing with bonus payments when assessing periodical payments ‘The periodical payments award may be partitioned, with needs being met from the base salary, and additional discretionary items being met from the bonus on a capped percentage basis.’Bankers’ bonuses frequently dominate the headlines and occupy the political platform. Bonuses may …
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Periodical Payments: Short-term solution

Camilla Thornton analyses recent decisions on maintenance and whether joint lives maintenance orders are facing extinction ‘A spousal maintenance award is properly made where the evidence shows that choices made during the marriage have generated hard future needs on the part of the claimant.’ There seems to have been a sea-change in recent years with …
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