As part of any divorce, and when advising clients, we will always look at whether the particular circumstances of that case would enable them to agree a clean break.

A “clean break” is in effect where, as part of their settlement, there are no ongoing financial obligations between the parties, which will therefore be linked to whether some form of spousal maintenance should be paid from one party to the other. However, spousal maintenance should be distinguished from child maintenance that may be received for the benefit of any children. It is therefore quite possible to agree a clean break between spouses where child maintenance is still paid and received.

Section 25A (1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 confirms that the Court has a duty to consider the termination of financial obligations of the parties to the other as part of their divorce. The main points for consideration will centre around whether both parties can reasonably adjust to financial independence without undue hardship.

The consideration of the above is highly subjective but the Court should take into consideration various factors including (but are not limited to some of) the following:-

  • The age, health and particular needs of a minor child, children or dependents;
  • age;
  • Health and mobility;
  • Relevant qualifications;
  • Previous work experience;
  • Length of time since they were last in employment;
  • Availability of work;
  • Child care commitments and daily routine;
  • Child care options and costs;
  • Realistic net resources (once child care costs have been factored in);
  • Has other capital been shared as part of their negotiations including pension sharing.

The above list is not exhaustive but will help parties consider how much (if any) they will need to receive (or be paying) in addition to any income that they might have.

It is also possible to consider agreeing a settlement where for example, more capital or a greater pension share is paid out in order to agree a clean break.

It must also be remembered that the receipt of spousal maintenance will end if the receiving party re-marries.

Get in Touch

If you require further information, please contact our family department who would be glad to discuss further. We offer a confidential fixed fee meeting based on a one-hour meeting at £95 (including VAT). Please contact Paul Wild on 0118 958 9711 or e-mail: [email protected].

Further Reading:

Divorce Reform: Is this the end of the blame game?

Adele – divorce and the pre-nuptial (or post-nuptial)

Parental Responsibility – what is it and how can you acquire it?

Drafting your own Divorce Petitions – Beware

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