A spouse’s conduct is rarely taken into account when determining financial settlement. Courts are reluctant to go into the detail of the causes of the breakdown of the marriage when dealing with how financial assets should be divided on a divorce. While conduct is a specific factor set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, conduct is only taken into account if a court is satisfied that it would be “inequitable to disregard it”.
In a recent case, R –v- B and Others  EWFC 33, the court was satisfied that the husband had been completely irresponsible in how he had conducted the family’s finances, creating significant liabilities and pursuing separate court action which was doomed to fail at huge financial cost. In this unusual case, the husband’s financial conduct was considered relevant and taken into account by the court. This was an extreme case and in the majority of cases conduct will still not be relevant with other factors such as the needs of children taking priority.
For further advice contact the Family Law team.