Excessive Spending

Written by Sam Carroll

April 26, 2017

In the 2016 case of BD v FD EDHC594 a wife was penalised for her excessive spending following a divorce and indeed the husband was compensated for this in the Court’s final Order.

The parties were married in 2002 and separated in 2013 and the husband had earned the majority of the family’s wealth. The husband’s assets were valued in the region of 58 million pounds and he had a beneficial interest in assets valued at 105 million pounds. The origin of this wealth dated back to 17th century and reflected the endeavours of his family over many generations.

When the matter first went to court the wife was awarded maintenance in the sum of £200,000.00 a year pending final determination. Maintenance Pending Suit is designed to meet a partie’s needs only and should not cover excessive spending. Between September 2014 and August 2015 the wife spent £865,000.00.

It is not surprising that when the matter reached final hearing the husband argued that the wife should be made to pay for some of her excessive spending and that these costs should not be met by him. The husband said that the wife had not spent to this level during the course of the marriage and there was therefore no justification as to why she should spend in this way since the marriage had broken down. The wife argued that the standard of living during the marriage should not be considered in this way because the husband had limited her spending and she could have spent more however he had not permitted her to do so.

The Judge found that the wife had spent significantly more than she had done during the course of the marriage. Further the amount that she had spent was in excess of what she had claimed in maintenance. The Judge referred to the wife’s level of expenditure as “sufficiently exorbitant” and said that the wife had “indulged at every whim she had” spending significant money on going to expensive hotels, clothes, jewellery, restaurant, purchasing a personalised number plate and spending £200,000.00 on cars.

The amount the wife had spent was deducted from her share of the matrimonial assets at the final hearing. The Judge felt that it would be unfair to the husband not to deduct this money from the wife’s overall award given her conduct. Even after deducting this sum the wife was still able to meet her reasonable needs.


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