Wachtel v Wachtel: CA 8 Feb 1973

The court described the 1969 and 1970 Acts as ‘a reforming statute designed to facilitate the granting of ancillary relief in cases where marriages have been dissolved . . We regard the provisions of sections 2,3, 4 and 5 of the Act of 1970 as designed to accord to the courts the widest possible powers in readjusting the financial position of the parties and to afford the courts the necessary machinery to that end . .’ Relevant misconduct so as to affect an ancillary relief order should be confined to those cases where the conduct was ‘obvious and gross’.
Lord Denning MR said that the phrase ‘family assets’: ‘ refers to those things which are acquired by one or other or both of the parties, with the intention that there should be continuing provision for them and their children during their joint lives, and used for the benefit of the family as a whole.’

Lord Denning MR, Phillimore, Roskill LJJ
[1973] Fam 72, [1973] EWCA Civ 10, [1973] Fam 72, [1973] 2 WLR 366
Bailii, FLW
Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970, Divorce Reform Act 1969
England and Wales
CitedLivingstone-Stallard v Livingstone-Stallard FD 1974
Section 1(2)(b) is expressed in very simple language, and ‘is . . quite easy for a layman to understand’. The court considered the necessary test for whether unreasonable behaviour had reached a point such as to allow a decree of divorce.
Dunn . .
Appeal fromWachtel v Wachtel FD 3-Oct-1972
Mr. Justice Ormrod ordered the husband to pay to his wife (i) a lump sum of pounds 10,000, or half the value of the former matrimonial home in Norwood, South London, whichever be the less: (ii) a periodical payment of pounds 1,500 per annum, less . .

Cited by:
CitedMcFarlane v McFarlane; Parlour v Parlour CA 7-Jul-2004
Appeals were made against orders for periodical payments made against high earning husbands. The argument was that if the case of White had decided that capital should be distributed equally, the same should apply also to income.
Held: The . .
CitedRobinson v Robinson (Practice Note) CA 2-Jan-1982
The husband was a serving soldier who had had various postings abroad. The wife returned home, where she discovered that she was pregnant. He followed her home, but she left him, and applied for maintenance. The justices found that she had deserted . .
CitedO’Neill v O’Neill CA 1975
The court considered the level of unreasonable behaviour necessary to found a decree of divorce.
Cairns LJ said: ‘The right test is, in my opinion, accurately stated in Rayden on Divorce . . ‘The words ‘reasonably be expected’ prima facie . .
CitedKyte v Kyte CA 22-Jul-1987
The parties disputed an ancillary relief claim on their divorce. The husband had been suicidally depressed. The wife had committed adultery over a long time and also assisted her husband’s failed suicide. The husband now sought to rely upon her . .
CitedMiller v Miller; M v M (Short Marriage: Clean Break) CA 29-Jul-2005
The parties contested ancillary relief where there had been only a short marriage, but where here were considerable family assets available for division. The wife sought to rely upn the husband’s behaviour to counter any argument as to the shortness . .
CitedMiller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane HL 24-May-2006
Fairness on Division of Family Capital
The House faced the question of how to achieve fairness in the division of property following a divorce. In the one case there were substantial assets but a short marriage, and in the other a high income, but low capital.
Held: The 1973 Act . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.198593