Special considerations in middle and low income cases
Special considerations in middle and low income cases

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Special considerations in middle and low income cases
  • General principles
  • Judicial guidance
  • Mesher and Martin orders
  • Tenancies
  • Funding
  • Privately funded matters
  • Legal aid
  • Unbundled services or Pay as You Go
  • Other funding options
  • More...

This Practice Note sets out the approach taken in cases where the assets are limited and may only be sufficient to meet needs, sometimes known as ‘small-money’ or ‘limited means’ cases. It details the principles that will be applied by the court. It also looks at Mesher and Martin orders, tenancies and funding options, and considers the availability and potential impact of state benefits.

In middle and low income cases, the parties' needs for housing and income may not be met by the relevant assets, or the assets may be limited to the extent that significant compromises will have to be made by either or both parties. There is relatively little case law available to assist with such cases due to the reality that in such cases the parties will be unlikely to be able to bear the legal costs of an appeal to higher courts.

General principles

The decision in Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane established that the principles of fairness (comprising needs, compensation and sharing) apply to all marriages and civil partnerships, but in cases where the assets are limited the overriding relevant consideration will be that of needs. For further guidance on needs, see Practice Notes: The needs of the parties and The needs of the children of the family.

In the search for a fair outcome, the first duty of the court will

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