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Talks Divorce

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QUESTION

I divorced my husband some four years ago, and whilst he has a very high income, we did not have a great deal of capital. Consequently I was awarded high spousal maintenance that more than covered my needs and those of our two children.

However, I know that my former husband’s income has continued to rise exponentially and as there was so little capital available I wonder whether I could ask for my maintenance to be increased so that I can save for the future.

ANSWER

I think that it would be sensible for you to apply to increase your maintenance.

In a recent case in the High Court in London the Judge awarded a wife in a similar position to you significantly increased maintenance that more than covered her reasonable needs and those of the children, with a view to allowing her to save extra money towards providing herself with a capital sum for future security.

This is an unusual approach, but clearly one that has recently found judicial approval.

QUESTION

I moved to this country from Rumania when I was 24 years of age. I had trained as a physiotherapist in Rumania, and had begun to work as a physiotherapist in this country but after six months I met and married a consultant working for the NHS.

We have since divorced, and our children are now grown up.

My former husband supports me with monthly maintenance, but this is relatively modest. I feel increasingly distressed that I am growing poorer and poorer but cannot make up my lost earnings because I gave up my job and the chance of my really integrating into the workplace in this country by marrying and having children.

Is there anything I can do?

ANSWER

There is nothing to stop you applying to the Court for an increase in your maintenance.

In the case of McFarlane v McFarlane
The Courts acknowledged the notion of ‘relationship generated disadvantage’, and it would seem to me that your situation falls squarely into this category. I think it would be very likely that a Court would be prepared to increase your spousal maintenance to reflect the disadvantage you have suffered as a result of marrying and giving up your work provided that your former husband’s income is sufficient to allow this.