Q&As

What may be the impact of alcoholism as conduct to be taken into account by the court as to financial provision? Where a party has lost a very high-paying position due to alcoholism, and is now unemployed, resulting in the sale of the family home and an adverse effect on lifestyle, will this be sufficient to argue conduct?

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Published on LexisPSL on 07/02/2017

The following Family Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What may be the impact of alcoholism as conduct to be taken into account by the court as to financial provision? Where a party has lost a very high-paying position due to alcoholism, and is now unemployed, resulting in the sale of the family home and an adverse effect on lifestyle, will this be sufficient to argue conduct?

Conduct is a specific factor to be taken into account under section 25(2)(g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) and Schedule 5, Part 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), if that conduct is such that it would ‘in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it’.

The current leading case is Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane. It is clear from the approach adopted by the House of Lords that conduct arguments should be reserved for truly exceptional cases. In most cases, fairness does not require consideration of the parties’ conduct. Conduct should only be raised in truly exceptional cases where it is ‘obvious and gross’ and it would be ‘inequitable to disregard’ the conduct.

In cases where the parties' assets exceed their needs, the court may be prepared to 'add-back' assets as a consequence of conduct, general

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