Courts unwilling to renegotiate ‘clean break’ divorce settlements

21st April 2016

Courts unwilling to renegotiate ‘clean break’ divorce settlements

Ex-couples who agree to ‘clean break’ divorce settlements must accept the consequences – even if they later have regrets or their circumstances change.

That was certainly so in one case where a woman’s bid to reopen the matter in the hope of receiving more money from her wealthy ex-husband was dismissed by the courts.

The couple were divorced in Australia where they agreed that the wife would receive a £72,500 share of the marital assets.

Her ex-husband also paid her about £45,000 in maintenance and continued to pay £9,600 a year in support for their eight-year-old child, meeting his obligations under the settlement.

Sometime after, the wife fell on hard times and was largely dependent on benefits. She was more than £50,000 in debt and had been forced to take the couple’s child out of a fee-paying school.

The husband’s career had flourished, however, and he lived with his new wife in a £1.6 million London home.

The wife’s lawyers argued that she was in real need and that the settlement had been unfair to her. But her attempts to receive extra financial support from her ex-husband were rejected by the Australian courts and by the High Court in London.

The Court of Appeal, noting that the marriage had been short, ruled that the wife had entered into the settlement with her eyes open having taken legal advice beforehand.

How can Gotelee help?

Gotelee’s lawyers have years of experience and will ensure you receive appropriate guidance and practical support. We have options on mediation and helping you through a divorce as smoothly as possible and can advise you throughout the separation process.

To find out more or to make a fixed fee appointment, call 01473 211121 or email

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