• Posted

The decision of Lord Justice Pitchford in the case of Ian Wright and Tracey Wright that “divorcees with children aged over seven should work for a living” is having reverberations throughout family law circles.

This judgement should come as no surprise since Judge Mostyn in the High Court case of SS v NS [2014] EWHC 4183 (Fam) said that there is a movement coming from the higher courts that a dependent spouse cannot expect to have their income needs met by their former spouse for many years after the divorce.

The starting point in all cases is a spouses ‘need’ taking account of the circumstances of the marriage which would include each party’s role within the marriage, length of marriage, age of the parties, age of the children, health, disability and ability to generate an earning capacity. In addition Judge Mostyn in SS v NS said “It is a mistake to regard the marital standard of living as the lodestar. As time passes how the parties lived in the marriage becomes increasingly irrelevant. And too much emphasis on it imperils the prospects of eventual independence”.

It therefore should come as no surprise that Tracey Wright who separated from her husband in 2008 has been told by Lord Justice Pitchford that she should “get a job” and that she has “no right to be supported for life” at her millionaire racehorse surgeon ex-husband’s expense.

This case is likely to have significant ramifications for divorcing wealthy spouses.

As an aside in an online survey asking “Should ex partners of wealthy spouses be required to get a job?” Over 95% of people who took part in the poll agreed with the question.

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