A piece by Nadeem Badshah in today’s Times:
More women are refraining from divorcing their husbands because of the smaller court settlements being awarded, according to lawyers.
Experts said that fewer wives were being awarded income for life and were increasingly having settlements restricted to a few years. The law firm Hall Brown has dealt with 380 divorce cases over the past year, 30 of which were later shelved because the couple decided not to go ahead.
James Brown, the managing partner at the Manchester firm, said that many divorcing couples “may have little genuine insight into their true financial circumstances, and might have second thoughts when told about the settlement which they may receive”.
Ministry of Justice figures showed last year that orders for payments had fallen by 5 per cent since 2011, and lump sum orders, which allow for a clean break, had risen by 10 per cent over the period.
Last month, Kim Waggott, 49, lost out on a lifetime of maintenance payments after going back to court to challenge her 2012 settlement, which included £175,000 a year for the rest of her life in addition to a £9.76 million lump sum.
The judge ruled that her maintenance payments from her ex-husband, William, 54, the former finance controller of UCI cinemas, should stop after three years, overturning the decision. The couple were married for 21 years and lived in a £4.3 million property near Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, before splitting in 2012.
Toby Hales, of the law firm Seddons, said it was “rare now to see a maintenance order that is to be paid for the rest of one’s life”.
“There is no doubt that the expected level of generosity of the courts has diminished significantly,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
The other factor putting people off was the cost of the process, he said. “If people are not able to agree the settlement . . . they can look forward to spending potentially tens of thousands of pounds on the process.”
You can subscribe to The Times here.