Courts in England and Wales still among the most generous with divorce settlements

Published: 9th May 2016

A recent report has revealed that England and Wales are still among the most generous countries when it comes to divorce settlements, despite the government's efforts to make ex-spouses more financially independent by providing for themselves.

According to the report, England and Wales is the 5th most generous jurisdiction for maintenance payments following a divorce, behind India, California, Singapore and Ireland. The high level of 'judicial discretion' of judges in England and Wales is certainly a factor as our judges have more authority (than those in other countries) to increase the overall value and duration of maintenance payments following divorce.

The generous maintenance settlements awarded by courts in England and Wales have not gone unnoticed and have created many headlines in the media, with many ex-spouses coming from overseas to Britain to fight their divorce cases in the hope that they will receive a more generous settlement.

This trend has even led to London being dubbed the ‘divorce capital of the world’. Views on the courts in England and Wales are divided, with some believing they endorse overinflated settlements for spouses that do not necessarily deserve it, and others applauding our system for being fairer to the financially weaker party.

Since 2014, the government has tried to rid London of its reputation for generous settlements by placing more emphasis on the ex-spouse becoming financially self-sufficient, even if it comes at a cost to the recipient. The financially weaker party can no longer expect long term financial support without a review of their future earning potential and any lifestyles changes needed to help them achieve financial independence.

On the other end of the spectrum, the jurisdictions of the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Japan and Russia provide little or no ongoing maintenance for ex-spouses and are far more likely to make ex-spouses support themselves following divorce. As with most areas of law, country-to-country differences can be significant.

If you are thinking about divorce or your relationship is on the verge of a breakdown then K J Smith Solicitors are here to help. Our team of family law specialists work with you to deliver practical solutions and overcome conflict in the most amicable way possible.

For more information or to arrange a free 45 minute consultation, please contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330 (London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke) or 01483 370100 (Guildford).

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