News & Commentary

Here is our thinking on recent family news and issues, and how these might impact you.

On Tuesday 23 September 2014 the Telegraph carried a report concerning divorcing wives who had formed new relationships – and how it affected settlements to be paid by husbands.

Mr Justice Mostyn said that new relationships before divorce were “a fly in the ointment” for Judges who had to make financial awards.

On 8 and 9 December 2014 the Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Mrs Wyatt in the case of Vince and Wyatt. This case has been extensively reported in the press as Mr Vince and Mrs Wyatt divorced in 1992 and it was not until 18 years and 8 months later and after Mrs Wyatt had had a relationship with another man and had two children with him, that she made her financial application in her long ago concluded divorce proceedings.

Recent Family Law News & Musings - October 2014

Civil Partnership Conversion

Couples in England and Wales will be able to convert their civil partnerships to marriages with effect from 10 December 2014.

It had previously been announced that couples would receive a conversion certificate but the government has now announced that converting civil partners will receive backdated marriage certificates which will be dated as at registration of the civil partnership. View more here.

In 2006, following separation and divorce, Mr Wright was ordered to pay spousal maintenance to Mrs Wright, not only on behalf of their children but for her personally. Her personal award was in the region of £33,000 each year.

Mr Wright, aged 59, being concerned that such an award would be unaffordable when he retired, aged 65, applied to the court last year to have the maintenance payments reduced.The Judge who heard that case agreed and ordered that Mrs Wright’s personal maintenance should stop, tailing-off over a 5 year period which lead up to Mr Wright’s retirement. Mrs Wright was not working and the Judge said that there was no good reason why she should not do so following the separation.

The Supreme Court has recently handed down its judgment in the Wyatt and Vince case which, whilst this case involves wealth, the decision could affect the average man in the street and their divorce cases.

Readers will recall that I wrote about Mrs Wyatt’s financial claim against Mr Vince brought nearly 19 years after their divorce in 1992.  At the time of the divorce and for some years thereafter, neither party had any money.