H v McL

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeJ. M. O'Sullivan
Judgment Date12 November 2009
Neutral Citation[2009] JRC 210B
Date12 November 2009

[2009] JRC 210B

Royal Court

(Family Division)


J. M. O'Sullivan., Deputy Registrar, Family Division.

In the Matter of Respondent's Application for Spousal Maintanence and a Contribution to Her Costs


Advocate R. E. Colley for the Petitioner.

Advocate N. S. H. Benest for the Respondent.


Warn -v- Conetta [2009] JRC 202 .

B -v- C and B [2009] JRC 036A .

Flavell -v- Flavell [1999] 1 FLR 353 .




The parties were married on the 14th June, 1999. A decree nisi was pronounced on the 14th May, 2006, on the basis of one year's separation with consent and made absolute on the 24th August, 2009. The parties had lived at a jointly owned property, and it was sold in August 2007, with each receiving £63,000. I will refer to them as husband and wife. The wife is aged 58 and a cleaner at the hospital; the husband will be 52 in two weeks time and he is a partner in an electrical firm.


The wife issued an application for ancillary relief on the 11th September, 2009, and the final hearing took place on the 12th November, 2009. There was no argument about assets and liabilities. The issue was as to the income and expenditure.


After the separation the husband paid the wife maintenance of £200 per month but this ceased on the decree absolute.

The wife's situation

As a result of back problems she was off work from 29th August, 2007, to 29th May, 2008. From August to October 2007 she received full pay, and her payroll department indicated she was on half pay from 19th October, 2007, to 19th February, 2008, and then no pay. She returned to work receiving a wage slip on the 3rd June, 2008. The payslips which were produced were difficult to read but the evidence of the wife was that when she received no pay she was entitled to sickness benefit. She was unable to get sick pay if she had been off sick up to a year. Her evidence which I accept was that during these periods she has had to use her capital. She now only has capital of £42,000 as she has just paid for a holiday for 2010. With interest rates so low, she only earns a small amount of income from her savings.


Medical reports were produced from her general practitioner and the hospital consultant. Her general practitioner Dr Ince, in his latest letter dated 6th October, 2009, stated that the manual nature of her work “exacerbates her back problem and my view is that her condition would improve were she to give up work” and he added that she is highly likely to require further time off work from time to time as a result of her back problem before she reaches a retirement age of 60. Indeed she was off work in October 2008 and in January 2009 with a further flare up of back pain. The letter from the hospital says she shows post surgical change, and that whilst there is no evidence of a recurrent disc there are degenerate discs. I accept her evidence that she needs to work until 60 but will retire then. Sadly the wife also is suffering from depression but she tries to exercise her back to alleviate her back problems.

The wife has monthly outgoings of £1,639.83.


Her outgoings were analysed. She lives in a one bedroom unfurnished flat having moved from accommodation of £800 per month to the present rent of £564. She has no car, and does not pay income tax as she does not earn enough. She does not have an extravagant lifestyle and has no allowances in her income needs for contingencies and does not have Sky TV. Her expenditure is £1,639.38 per month and her income is £1,179.62 per month, thus there is a shortfall of £460.21 per month. She is not co-habiting.


She will get a state pension of about £628.33 per month at retirement. She produced figures showing what she would have got had she retired on 1st January, 2008, of £4,861 per annum deferred pension. A pension at 65 would give her £6,486 per annum (£540 per month) or with a commutable lump sum £3,248 per annum (£405.33 per month). It is likely that her shortfall in income over expenditure will be about £470. If she has to rely on her capital to meet her monthly shortfall in income, her capital will be spent in about 7 years time.

The Husband's Situation

He is almost 52 and gave evidence that he would hope to work until 65. The husband is an electrician in a partnership. He is not arguing that his earnings have been reduced by the recession; they have been consistent at about £39,433 per annum or £3,256 per month. He pays himself a wage of £600 per week but gets other payments from the company. He lives in an unfurnished flat. He does not lead a lavish lifestyle either. He has a girlfriend but is not co-habiting and does not intend to re-marry.

The husband's most recent schedule (dated 10th November, 2009) gives his monthly outgoings as £3,862.56 and in the future reduced to £2,529.56.


He provided an updated schedule of...

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