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Lord Wilson sets out his views on spousal maintenance

In a speech to students at the University of Bristol, Lord Wilson of Culworth reminded those listening that, in certain cases, it would be unrealistic to expect ex-wives to adjust without long-term, on-going maintenance payments from their ex-husbands. Whereas in Scotland, which has a three-year cut-off point for maintenance payments, judges in England and Wales have flexibility and discretion under the MCA 1973. Lord Wilson gave the example of an older ex-wife, “The trouble is that is is usually unrealistic to tell a wife, left on her own perhaps at age 60 after a long marriage, that, following payments for, say, three years, she must fend for herself”.

These extra-judicial comments are particularly notable give the private member’s bill recently tabled by Baroness Deech, a cross-bench peer, seeking to introduce a three-year cap on most maintenance payments. The bill has now passed its second reading in the House of Lords.

Anna Ratcliffe recently gave a talk on this bill at our Family Finance seminar. If you wish to have a copy of the talk or even organise an in house seminar on this topic please contact

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