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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 MAY 2007

Non-matrimonial property and spousal maintenance: H v H

David Merrigan, Barrister, Lamb Building. The case of H v H [2007] EWHC 459 (Fam) concerned two important and often disputed issues: how long spousal maintenance should continue after separation and when property acquired after separation becomes non-matrimonial. In this article these questions are considered in the light of the H v H judgment and other cases including Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] 2 AC 618, [2006] 1 FLR 1186 and Rossi v Rossi [2006] EWHC 1482, [2007] 1 FLR 790. What was reinforced in H v H was the view that the aim is to give parties an equal start on the road to independent living and that the marital partnership does not stay alive for the purpose of sharing future resources unless justified by need or compensation. If there is no loss to compensate for (as here, where the wife had not given up a high earning career) then there is no basis upon which to continue spousal maintenance with a joint lives maintenance order. The article considers the two issues in detail and extracts the guidance on the issues emerging from H v H and the other cases, and the implications for the standing of Miller/McFarlane. For the full article see July [2007] Fam Law. This article is also now exclusively available online for subscribers to the Family Law journal online.

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