Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 18 July 2018, the Supreme Court will be delivering Judgment following an appeal made by the former Husband, Mr Mills, in relation to his maintenance obligations.
When Mr and Mrs Mills originally divorced in 2002, she received practically all of the liquid capital, £230,000. She was also awarded lifetime maintenance of £1,100 per month.
By 2015, Mrs Mills had none of that capital left. She had invested, unwisely, in a series of properties, and while she did have an income of her own, she was suffering from ill-health and suggested she needed increased maintenance.
She applied to the Court for an increase.
Mr Mills responded by seeking a decrease in that maintenance and for the maintenance to come to an end altogether.
The Judge who first decided the case came to the conclusion that everything ought to remain as it was and therefore both parties were unsuccessful.
Mrs Mills applied to the Court of Appeal and they decided that the maintenance should, in fact, be increased to £1,441 per month, not as much as Mrs Mills had wanted but an increase nonetheless.
Mr Mills has appealed to the Supreme Court on the basis that the maintenance ought to come to an end once and for all.
While he accepts that he could afford an increased level of maintenance, he doesn’t see why he should continue to pay maintenance, particularly since he and his former wife have been separated for longer than they were married.
He feels particularly aggrieved because the reason why his former wife was asking for maintenance to be increased and to continue indefinitely was as a direct result of poor decisions which she made after the marriage broke down.
Potentially, the Supreme Court’s decision could be extremely important giving much-needed guidance as to how and when a Court should bring maintenance claims to an end and when former spouses should be expected to be financially independent, which is what the law actually requires Judges to do.