Poor Mrs Waggott applied to court to either increase the spousal maintenance that she had been receiving from her husband in a previous financial settlement or to award her an additional sum of capital. The maintenance that she had been receiving was due to be paid to her on a “joint lives basis” i.e. until either her or her husband died.
The judge in the appeal court however decided that Mrs Waggott should not have the maintenance on this basis and ordered that they stop after a three year period. This was not the outcome expected by Mrs Waggott.
Was Mrs Waggott using her husband as a “meal ticket” or was she asking the court to recognise that during the marriage she had made a decision to give up her career, support her husband and be the home maker instead? The concern is that Mrs Waggott was now being penalised for making that decision. Her husband was progressing in his career with his substantive income and she wasn’t. Is this gender inequality?
We will have to wait for further cases to be heard to see if judges are no longer making lengthy spousal maintenance orders to the spouse that has decided to stay at home and look after the children.
It must be remembered that each case turns on its own facts and the courts have a huge discretion when dealing with cases.
Maybe Mrs Waggott will appeal to the Supreme Court, she may have a different outcome if heard by a panel of female judges consisting of Lady Hale or Lady Black.
Here at Jordans we can give you advice on financial matters relating to your marriage including if your case would merit a spousal maintenance claim. If you want to speak to one of our family law solicitors you can call us on 033 03001 103 or request a call back and we’ll be in touch to discuss your case.