To love honour and support…but only for 3 years?

The subject of spousal maintenance and how long it should rightly continue is a hot legal topic right now. When I first qualified as a solicitor over 25 years ago,  it seemed far more common than it is now for wives to have given up their careers and stayed at home, and therefore have little or no earning capacity, so require lifetime financial support.

In 2017, whilst it is certainly the case that the older women I meet have often got little or no future earning capacity due to having given up their careers for their husbands and children, that isn’t so with my younger clients. In the 45 and under age range, I see so many more cases in which women have their own successful careers and juggle work and family life with aplomb. That isn’t to say that they haven’t had to scale back some of their career ambitions to accommodate both, or worked part-time to do so, but they have nonetheless stayed working throughout the marriage. The options for scaling their employment back up and to some extent catching up their lost pay-scales, is certainly there.

Baroness Deech,  a leading female peer well known for expressing her clear views on a range of legal issues, has tabled a bill that maintenance payments should not be allowed to continue for more than 3 years post-divorce.

Her proposals will be welcomed by some and vehemently opposed by others but do represent the position of wives in a number of European jurisdictions. London has for some time been known as the ‘divorce capital’ of the world due to its generosity towards wives so far as spousal maintenance is concerned. Baroness Deech’s voices echoes a number of those within the family judiciary who consider that ‘meal tickets’ must no longer be a given for wives no matter how long a marriage.

Family lawyers will follow the bill’s progress with very keen interest. Watch this space…

Divorces are skewed by judges' outdated chivalry, says female peer pushing for cap on payments.

Baroness Deech has tabled a Bill calling for a three year cap to be placed on most maintenance payments.

Judges are labouring under antiquated notions of chivalry in awarding women maintenance payments which extend years into the future, despite the fact that many divorcees go on to earn good salaries on their own, says a leading female peer.

A Bill tabled by Baroness Deech calling for a three year cap to be placed on most maintenance payments is to go to the Committee stage after passing its second reading in the House of Lords.