The Supreme Court has ruled that a divorced husband should not have to increase payments to his ex-wife after she mismanaged her finances following their separation.

The couple divorced in 2002 after a 15-year marriage, the wife received £230,000 in settlement of her capital claims against her husband and it was agreed that he would make annual periodical payments of £13,200.  However, by April 2015, following a series of property purchases and later the wife beginning to rent accommodation, she had accrued debts of around £42,000 and there was an apparent shortfall of £4,902 per year between her needs and the existing level of the periodical payments.

The Court of Appeal had backed the wife’s request to increase periodical payments.

Lord Wilson, giving the lead judgement in the Supreme Court, said the Court of Appeal had erred in saying the judge at first instance had given no reason for declining to increase the payments order.  The judge’s order to retain existing periodical payments was restored.