Amongst all of the discussions surrounding  the potential of a no fault divorce  an article yesterday, written by Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of the Times,  heralded proposals for a five-year limit on spousal maintenance awards in divorce with the intention of bringing to an end huge payouts and massive court costs.

Baroness Deech has spoken of the need to end the open ended divorce awards that have made London the divorce capital of the world.

There certainly has been a move to bring life time spousal support or maintenance awards to an end.

So we shall be looking towards more and more clean break settlements rather than the older type of award that provided indefinite  maintenance awards  and which critics have described as a “meal ticket for life”.

Baroness Deech is proposing in her Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill, a maintenance term of 5 years, with longer terms, only if needed, to prevent hardship.

The Times article provides that such a framework would avoid the need for “judge-made-law” and  appropriately points out that the opportunity for family mediation and out-of-court settlements can be arrived at without intervention by judges. It is hoped that this will herald change for people who do not wish to experience delays in the courts and to help towards reducing high charges involved within litigation.


The article refers to wasted costs of litigation and in particular to a husband who was awarded £50,000. However his costs and the bill presented to him by his solicitors was for £490,000.

Furthermore, pre-nuptial agreements are also referred to in the bill provided they are made water tight by both parties receiving legal advice.

Naturally, I was delighted to read that “The result of the bill should be better opportunities for mediation, less need to go to court, reduced trauma for children, lower costs, and easier time for litigants in person and a fairer outcome recognising partnership in marriage.”

If family mediation is a process that you would like to understand more about, please contact:

Tricia Muzalewski at Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW

Wynn Mediation is a dedicated service. Please email us at:  or telephone us on  01702 341241

P.MUZALEWSKI, FMCA, WYNN MEDIATION,                                                                May 2018