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Media interest has recently reignited in the long, drawn-out divorce proceedings between Ekaterina Fields and her millionaire husband, Richard Fields.

In the eyes of most, the lifestyle of Mr and Mrs Fields during their marriage was lavish. They lived on a yearly budget equivalent to £800,000 per year whilst living in New York.

When the case first came before the High Court in June 2015, the judge decided that Mrs Fields would need £2million for a flat in Chelsea and also the “fair, but generous” sum of £350,000 per year, excluding school fees, to meet the living requirements of her and the two children.

Mrs Fields has recently returned the case to court because she does not think she will be able to save as much money as the judge had intended. However, this narrow issue aside, most people would be surprised that a judge would find that Mrs Fields needed anything like the sums of money that she was seeking.

The issue is that the court in this country views a person’s needs with one eye on the standard of living during the marriage and the lifestyle of the other spouse.  In this case, Mr Fields would continue to earn a huge amount of money per year and no doubt enjoy a lifestyle to match his income.

For couples who are separating, this can make negotiating a financial settlement very difficult. Sometimes ex-partners don’t agree on what the standard of living has been during the marriage or, more commonly, one party says that they have been funding an expensive lifestyle but have racked up considerable debt as they have been living beyond their means. The result can be an unpalatable suggested drop in lifestyle for the non/lesser-earning spouse.

In those circumstances, seeking full financial disclosure is important to help everyone understand the true financial position of the family. Taking legal advice can help couples to work through these thorny issues and to foster realistic expectations at an early stage. Seeking advice and adopting a constructive approach can avoid costly court proceedings, ensuring that there is as much money as possible to go round.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.