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Does life mean life paying maintenance to your ex?

Does life mean life paying maintenance to your ex? This question may be troubling some today following the media interest in a case before Sir Earnest Ryder in divorce called Mills. That case approved lifetime maintenance to an ex wife 15 years on. In fact, the order is a variation of an old order not new and the husband was unsuccessful in seeking a clean break. Cheshire divorce solicitors Stonehewer Moss note the divorce was in 2002 and the wife made bad investment with the modest capital she received at the time. It may be a  mistake to focus on her lack of luck in business, however. It is notable that her representatives stress she cared for the children and the Judge clearly makes the order based on income need. Does life mean life paying maintenance to your ex, however.

Accredited solicitor Michael Brennan has 25 years experience of divorce finance cases. The key point, he believes, is that the court has a broad discretion and with changes times what is considered fair changes. Michael remembers as a trainee the phrase used today on the Mills case being bandied about, “a meal ticket for life”. Back then, Michael recalls, many middle aged women fitted the description of home maker or housewife completely and it was an unattractive argument to suggest maintenance stop at an arbitrary point. The case law and  practice do diverge. Maintenance orders are now rare but will be made when your marriage has created a disadvantage with a need for income you can afford to pay. The media interest arising from Mills may indicate the broad discretion of the courts on such might find room to avoid lifetime orders by imposing a term with no bar on applying to extend in appropriate cases. The other point to consider is the possibility that statute will be changed in the future to adopt something like the Scottish system of 3 year maximum orders. Whether the statute would apply to existing orders might remain to be seen but payer is always free to apply to discharge and fairness is the benchmark.

  Does life mean life paying maintenance to your ex? Few cases have long term orders and the law may always change with society.

For advice negotiation and representation of divorce finances please call 01606 872200 e mail info@piplaw.co.uk or visit www.stonehewermoss.co.uk

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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

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