New Partner- Little/No Impact?
A new decision has been made in a hearing whereby a wife is going to be able to discount basically the impact of living with another man. This groundbreaking decision is a shock because generally it has always been assumed that being with a new partner would help defray expenses and that accordingly a lesser claim could be made upon the ex spouse and their assets as a consequence whether in terms of income or capital. Generally however cohabitation doesn’t make any real difference in terms of pension entitlement after a long marriage.
His Honour Judge Munby held that the ex wife did not have to look to her new partner for financial support and required all of her settlement monies in order to remain financially independent. There was no certainty as to whether or not the new relationship would work after the end of a 20 year marriage.
The significant part of the Judgment was that the Court held that the presence of a new partner did not necessarily diminish the financial need of the wife as a single woman.
It was a strange case because even Mrs Hart’s view accepted that she was in a long term relationship with a new partner.
The appeal decision was, on balance, that the presence of a new partner in the life of the wife did not diminish her needs. Clearly this is an interesting case and may have simply been upheld on the basis that the parties were very wealthy indeed with a total portfolio of 10 million pounds. It remains to be seen whether or not this will be distinguished in more modest cases.