About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Saturday 13 August 2016


Where were you dined during your relationship? One of the factors the court must take into account when dealing with property and maintenance issues at the end of a marriage or civil partnership is the standard of living which the parties enjoyed before the breakdown. The lifestyle sets a level or benchmark that is relevant to the assessment of the independent lifestyles that the parties are to enjoy in the future. That is how one judge has explained it but with another judge declaring last year that as time passed, how the parties lived before the breakdown did become increasingly irrelevant.

In another case in March 2016 the judge indicated that the longer the period which the court reckoned one of the parties should be maintaining the other the less likely that the level of maintenance would reflect the former standard of living. That was the approach adopted by the High Court judge in a 'big money' case five weeks ago where she ordered a lump sum payment in favour of the wife reflecting what the wife would fairly need of just over £53m. Cool. The husband was terminally ill and died three weeks later.

So where the party who is to dip into their pocket has the resources, the standard of living will be factored in but will become less significant as the maintenance period grows older. 'Caviar and chips, please, but can I order just egg and chips when I come back in ten years' time?"