While historically courts in England and Wales have had a wide discretion to make generous awards to financially dependent former partners, there is a growing expectation for ex-spouses to become self-sufficient quickly.
Since 2014, divorce cases have increasingly considered the possibility of transition towards financial independence, even if it involves some hardship for the recipient.
It appears that in England and Wales the days are long gone when the weaker financial party could expect lifelong financial support, without examination of their earning potential and the lifestyle adjustments they could make to become self-sufficient.
Any international couple contemplating divorce should therefore be advised to consider the legislation governing spousal maintenance in their respective home jurisdictions, in order to determine which jurisdiction would be most likely to meet their expectations for financial support following the breakdown of their marriage.
England and Wales still remains one of the most generous jurisdictions for financially dependent spouses, despite greater judicial appetite for making ex-spouses provide for themselves, research by an international firm reveals. According to a report from Penningtons Manches, England and Wales is the fifth most generous jurisdiction for awarding ongoing maintenance, behind India, California, Singapore and Ireland. Scotland is eighth. At the other end of the scale, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Japan and Russia are more likely to make ex-spouses support themselves. In these jurisdictions, there is little or no ongoing maintenance for ex-spouses, the report says.