High Court Judge Cautions Against New Relationships Until Divorce Finances Settled

Mr Justice Mostyn cautions against couple having new partners before their divorce finances have been settled in court

Scylla and Charybdis

In his recent judgment in the case AB v CB, Mr Justice Mostyn has given a warning to wives considering another relationship while still engaged in disputes over divorce finances. Presumably this would also apply to husbands seeking a settlement from their wives.

The High Court Justice described a beginning a new relationship before divorce finances are settled as a ‘fly in the ointment’ for judges in the Family Court.

One cannot make assumptions, if it is not full blown cohabitation akin to marriage, that it will grow into that, because if it does not the wife may be left stranded between Scylla and Charybdis if the assumption is wrongly made. On the other hand, if one makes a needs assessment on the basis that she is a single woman and she soon cohabits, then the paying party in the ancillary relief proceeding can rightfully feel significantly aggrieved.  AB v CB [2014] EWHC 2998 (Fam) at 66

Scylla and Charybdis are sea monsters from Greek mythology, equivalent to saying ‘between a rock and a hard place’. Mostyn J is suggesting that judges may assume women would set up home with a new partner, sharing costs or even being supported by them, leading to a lower financial settlement on divorce. But if the woman did not eventually set up home with a new partner, as anticipated by the judge, then she could be financially disadvantaged by the lower settlement.

If you have concerns about how a new relationship might affect your financial settlement then you should contact a solicitor for legal advice.

You can call us on 0800 222 9500 for advice from an expert solicitor.

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