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The case of SS v NS is a recent judgment from Mr Justice Mostyn which shows the changing approach of the courts to spousal maintenance. The husband and wife were 40 and 39 respectively, and had been together for 11 years. The husband worked in banking. Though he was very successful, he was reducing his work load due to ongoing health concerns. The wife had not worked since the birth of the first child, but had taken on part-time work during the course of proceedings.
The judge considered the legal and ethical basis for spousal maintenance, and summarized the case law to-date. He found that an order for maintenance could only be made where there were income needs to be met and should be focused on facilitating the transition to independent living.
The judge put forward 11 principles which decisions relating to the provision of maintenance should address, including when it would be appropriate for there to be a “clean break” (i.e. a maintenance order coming to an end). These are:
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