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Clean break: can bonuses snooker financial settlements?

If a family’s standard of living is dependent on the breadwinner’s extra income, what does that mean for both parties on divorce, asks Nicola Fisher

14 May 2014

Bonuses have been in the spotlight in recent times and they are certainly not disappearing under the radar of the divorce courts. In the High Court appeal of P v P (also known as H v W [2013] EWHC 4105 (Fam), Mrs Justice King set out useful clarification on the appropriate approach for dealing with spousal maintenance orders where the family income is made up of discretionary bonus as well as salary.

At the time of the original hearing before District Judge White, the husband, then 43 and the wife 55, had been cohabiting for about
19 years and married for around 14 years. They had an adult daughter, who was then living with her mother, but the court made it clear that the wife was not entitled to any provision as she was no longer a dependant.

The husband, managing director of a Russian bank, was used to receiving his income by way of a salary plus a discretionary bonus. In the fina...

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