A strictly mathematical approach to calculating ancillary relief can be inappropriate in large sum cases. The statutory jurisdiction has to provide for all applications for ancillary financial relief, from the poverty stricken to the multi-millionaire.
Held: The court to reconcile existing practice wit the statute. Reasonable requirements are more extensive than needs. What a person requires is likely to be greater than what that person needs. The objective appraisal of what the applicant requires must have regard to the other criteria of the section, including what is available, the parties’ accustomed standard of living, their age and state of health and ‘perhaps less obviously’ the duration of the marriage, contributions and pension rights: ‘Used thus the consideration of needs ceases to be paramount or determinative but an elastic consideration that does not exclude the influence of any of the others. . . in a big money case where the wife has played an equal part in creating the family fortune it would not be unreasonable for her to require what might be even an equal share.’ Other court members questioned the correctness of an approach which determines the quantum of an award by reference only to the reasonable requirements of the applicant. Butler-Sloss LJ: if spouses are in business together, the traditional ‘reasonable requirements’ approach to a wife’s application for ancillary relief is not the most appropriate method to arrive at the post-divorce adjustment of family finances.
Butler-Sloss LJ, Thorpe LJ, Peter Gibson LJ
Gazette 02-Aug-1996,  1 FCR 286,  2 FLR 286,  Fam Law 607,  EWCA Civ 1343
Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
England and Wales
Cited – Page v Page CA 1981
In an ancillary relief application, there was enough capital to provide adequately for both husband and wife.
Held: When considering the needs and obligations of the parties a broad view could be taken: (Ormrod LJ) ‘In a case such as this . .
Followed – Thyssen-Bornemisza v Thyssen-Bornemisza (No 2) 1985
Cited – White v White HL 26-Oct-2000
The couple going through the divorce each had substantial farms and wished to continue farming. It had been a long marriage.
Held: Where a division of the assets of a family would satisfy the reasonable needs of either party on an ancillary . .
Considered – Conran v Conran FD 14-Jul-1997
In deciding financial settlement, the court can consider contribution made by the Wife through her own special skills to the husband’s business. One could not sensibly fit an allowance for contribution into an analysis of a wife’s needs. That would . .
Cited – Williams v Thompson Leatherdale (A Firm) and Another QBD 10-Nov-2008
The claimant sought damages from her legal advisers. They had allowed her to settle an ancillary relief application knowing that the case of White v White had been referred to the House of lords, and the settlement proved to have been on . .
Cited – Radmacher v Granatino CA 2-Jul-2009
Husband and wife, neither English, had married in England. Beforehand they had signed a prenuptial agreement in Germany agreeing that neither should claim against the other on divorce. The wife appealed against an order to pay a lump sum to the . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 April 2021; Ref: scu.79813