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Wife’s MPS application rejected because interim budget exceeded standard of living of marriage

Court intervention not required to ensure interim needs met

In BD v FD [2014] EWHC 4443 Fam Mr Justice Moylan has rejected a wife's maintenance pending suit application on the basis that her interim budget manifestly exceeded the standard of living of the marriage. Court intervention was not required to ensure her interim needs were met.

The parties married in 2002 and separated in 2013. There are four children of the family aged between 3 and 8.

The husband has non-trust assets of £49m and trust assets of £100m-£130m along with an income of £1.7m net per annum and the wife has £2.9m being the value of her new home and £1.4m in cash and investments.

Of the wife's £1.4m, £1m was transferred to her by the husband in the course of the separation and in a letter from his solicitors dated 3 April 2014, he confirmed that he did not expect the wife to use the sum of £1 million to fund her legal costs or her living expenses.

This was the wife's application for maintenance pending suit dated 10 July 2014. At the time of the application, the husband was voluntarily paying a global sum of £202,000 pa for the benefit of the wife and the children in addition to the wife's legal fees. The wife sought that sum to be increased to an "absolute minimum" of £280,000 pa but in essence, sought £392,000 pa, her interim needs budget.

The wife's case was that without MPS at the levels she sought, she would not be able to meet her reasonable income needs.

The husband's case was that as a matter of fact (disputed by the wife), the family lived on approximately £230,000 to £265,000 pa including school fees of £40,000 pa. He produced evidence from his accountants setting out the family's annual expenditure for 2011 to 2013 inclusive. His case was that the wife's own interim needs were £156,000 pa.

Moylan J found in favour of the husband in that global MPS should remain in the sum currently paid by the husband of £202,000 pa.

Applying, F v F (Ancillary Relief: Substantial Assets) [1995] 2 FLR 45, M v M (Maintenance Pending Suit) [2002] 2 FLR 123, TL v ML & Ors (Ancillary Relief: Claims against Assets of Extended Family) [2006] 1 FLR 1263 and G v G (Child Maintenance: Interim Costs Provision) [2010] 2 FLR 1264, the judge made the following observations:

For the judgment and more detailed summary by Lily Mottahedan of 1 Hare Court (from which this item is derived) please click here.