When Does the Clock Stop Ticking?

In 2014, Kim Waggott was awarded a settlement of £9.76m and £175,000 in annual maintenance payments for life, after she divorced from her multimillionaire husband, William Waggott. Following the decision, Mr Waggott protested stating that the ruling was wrong on the basis that it would not encourage his wife to ever return to work. Mrs. Waggott, who stopped working in 2002, claimed that she should be entitled to a share of her ex-husband’s future earnings, as well as a portion of his income whilst they were still married. She asked the Court of Appeal to grant her an increase in the annual maintenance payments that she was receiving.

At the Court of Appeal, Mr. Waggott’s QC asked “How long should an order based on sharing last for? When does the clock stop ticking?”. This question was answered by the Court with a landmark decision that will undoubtedly impact the future of divorce cases where issues surrounding future maintenance obligations need to be determined.

The Court of Appeal decided in favour of Mr. Waggott and ordered that the maintenance payments end in March 2021. Regarding Mrs. Waggott’s bid for more cash, Lord Justice Moylan commented “Any extension of the sharing principle to post separation earnings would fundamentally undermine the court’s ability to effect a clean break”. He also added that Mr. Waggott’s future earning capacity is not capable of being a matrimonial asset and he is not obliged to share it.

The judgment can be accessed here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/727.html

It should be noted that this blog post provides general information regarding the subject matter.

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