Supreme Court Mills v Mills judgment today
The Supreme Court has today handed down its judgment on Mills v Mills. Commenting on this, Mishcon de Reya Family Lawyer Emma Willing said:
"Where there is insufficient capital available on a divorce to create a clean break between the couple, a fair settlement will often require continuing monthly payments to be made by one spouse to the other. Here, Mrs Mills had received the majority of the capital of the marriage following her divorce so she could rehouse herself. But she also received periodical payments from Mr Mills to meet her other income needs. As a result of a series of ill-advised transactions, Mrs Mills later lost all of her capital. She therefore applied to the court for her periodical payments to be increased to include additional payments from Mr Mills to help her pay rent. The judge refused her application, but the Court of Appeal allowed her appeal.
"Today, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal's decision and upheld the judge's decision.
"The Supreme Court decided that where one spouse had already provided for the other's housing needs through capital it was most improbable that there would ever be circumstances in which a he or she would later have to duplicate the cost of meeting those housing need through increased maintenance.
"Importantly, the Supreme Court reiterated that whilst "joint lives" maintenance orders are open-ended in duration, there is always the potential for the payer to apply for a further order reducing or ending it at any time. This, according to Lord Wilson, demonstrates just how misleading, and unattractive, it is for these types of orders to be described as a "meal-ticket for life".
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