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Stowe guests: Pennywise Consultants

Stowe guests is the name we have given to our new series of guest bloggers who will be joining us over the next couple of months to share advice, best practice, tips and support for all those going through a divorce or separation.

We called it Stowe guests (friends just didn’t sound right) because we see this as friendly advice you would share over a cup of coffee, tea or even a glass of fizz. Where ever you read it, we hope you enjoy.

For our first article, we are joined by Alison Porter from Pennywise Consultants, an income and expenditure analysis service for couples divorcing, to tell us more about the services they offer and how they can work with family law firms to support clients.

“Caroline’s husband said that he didn’t think she and the two children would need more than £1,500 a month to live on.  She wasn’t sure what she needed because he had always dealt with the finances.

In fact, Pennywise’s income needs analysis showed Caroline required £2,000 a month to support her family’s expenditure. This meant an increase in income of £6,000 per year, at a cost of £3,000 for the Future Budget Estimate.

Caroline was delighted.”

I am often asked: So, what do Pennywise Consultants do? For me, the best way to illustrate the work we do is with the aid of case studies, such as the one above.

In a nutshell, we assist divorcing or separating couples with the analysis of their past expenditure and their ongoing income needs requirements for their divorce or separation.

Analysis of a person’s past annual expenditure enables us to accurately forecast what they are likely to need going forward.  In the event there is no access to any financial statements, then we confer with our client and use existing data to build them a realistic budget.

We can help with both an under-estimate or over-estimation of income needs as the second case study below highlights.

“George had a good understanding of his finances and estimated that his wife’s income needs would be in the region of £4,000 per month.  Jane submitted an income needs schedule requesting £10,000 per month.

Analysis of the family expenditure by Pennywise over four years prior to separation supported George’s estimate.  George saved £6,000 per month out of net income, i.e. £72,000 per year!

George paid £5,980 for a four-year expenditure analysis and revision of Caroline’s budget which he saved in the first month of maintenance payments. “

Assisting with the Schedule of Outgoings

In our experience, it is the Schedule of Outgoings (income needs requirements) that intimidates people when completing their Form E.

Without exception, I would say that we all spend more than we think we do and when budgeting for our monthly or annual expenditure (if indeed we even do that!) do we consider the ‘unknowns’?

Last month my washing machine died; the boiler broke down; my car needed a new starter motor and a filling fell out.  This amounted to several thousand pounds I hadn’t allowed for.  It is not just the predicted everyday costs we need to consider, but the unexpected ones too.

Here at Pennywise Consultants, we allow for the expected, unexpected and research future costs based on the clients’ specific living circumstances and provide a categorised estimate of income needs going forward.

For further details please visit or call the office on +44 (0)1531 640988 to discuss your requirements.  We are here to help!

Please note that names in the case studies have been changed for privacy purposes.


The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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