The press have widely reported this Court of Appeal case this week, in many of them with more than a little schadenfreude : Mrs Waggott, who received a substantial capital settlement in her divorce settlement in 2012 as well as, gasp, £175,000 a year maintenance payments in joint lives, had applied to court for an increase in payments. Not only did the court not increase her payments, but in accordance with its powers, it imposed a term or time limit of 3 years on her ex-husband's obligation to support her, after which payments will stop.
There can be no doubt that the case serves as a warning to any recipient of maintenance who is thinking of re-opening the court proceedings in this way. Once a case is back before the court, it can sometimes be a case of 'all bets are off'.
There may be situations in which a bird in the hand might just be the most sensible approach?
An attempt by a divorcee to have a “meal ticket for life” backfired after a High Court Judge ruled her maintenance payments should cease after just three years. Kim Waggott, 49, had been awarded a settlement of £9.76m and £175,000 in annual maintenance payments for the rest of her life when she split from her multimillionaire husband William in 2012. Unhappy with the deal she went back to court and asked for a £23,000 a year increase in the payments. But Mr Waggott has now successfully challenged the original award, leaving his former wife with a fraction of what she wanted. Lord Justice Moylan, at London's Appeal Court, on Wednesday ordered the £175,000 a year maintenance payments to stop in three years' time rather than continuing till their deaths, granting Mr Waggott a "clean break" from his former wife.