The traditional advice provided in relation to cross-border divorces may have shifted following the landmark decision of Lord Justice Pitchford in the case of Tracey Wright, ex-wife of a horse surgeon.
The former legal secretary had enjoyed annual maintenance of £75,000, £33,000 of which was characterised as spousal. The maintenance award was in addition to receiving an unencumbered £450,000 house, together with stabling for horses.
But the court told her she had no right to expect 'an income for life' and having made' no effort whatsoever to seek work' it was now imperative that she should ' go out and support herself'.
While one might question why she wasn't advised to be seen to make at least a token effort to find work, the decision could be viewed as a nod of approval for our more limited application of periodical allowance.
While it may not buck the general assumption that where there is scope for a choice of law, a stay-at-home spouse might still be expected to fare better in England, the decision may come to be seen as one which signals the beginning of the erosion of one the starkest differences of approach between the jurisdictions.