Aburn -v- Aburn 2016 EWCA CV 72 - Spousal Maintenance

In the recent case of Aburn and Aburn 2016 EWCA CIV 72 the Court of Appeal ruled that it was wrong to vary spousal maintenance upon speculation and that variation should only take place on an informed basis.

In this case the basis of the appeal related to an order providing for an automatic upward variation of the wife’s periodical payments once the youngest child of the family had completed her full time secondary education.  It was ordered at first instance that once the child had finished her full time secondary education the husband should pay the wife the equivalent of 50% of the private school fees and associated costs related to her final year in school.  The judge justified his reasoning stating that the saving in education costs should be split equally between the parties.

Upon the second attempt the husband’s appeal to this order was allowed.  The Court of Appeal found that it had been determined that the wife required the funds each year to pay the children’s school fees.  However once the course had finished there was nothing to justify why she should receive half of this payment.  It was said by the Court of Appeal that it was impossible to predict what would happen in four years as there were many variables.  It was concluded that the judge at first instance was incorrect in his original decision.

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