The use of Duxbury calculations was established in the case of Duxbury -v- Duxbury, where a divorcing couple sought to achieve a clean break settlement, rather than have any ongoing spousal maintenance being paid when the divorce concludes. With the assistance of the wife’s accountant, a lump sum was calculated that was said to be sufficient to meet her lifetime income needs. The court and family lawyers now consult the ‘Duxbury Tables’ on a regular basis, in order to consider whether spousal maintenance claims can be capitalised.
Duxbury calculations are used in cases when a couple are looking to achieve a clean break financial settlement and where there are sufficient capital assets available to provide the financially dependent party with an appropriate fund. Several factors are taken into account for the purposes of the calculation, such as the couple’s ages, income and outgoings. The fund is intended to provide the financially dependant party with sufficient funds to invest and utilise for the remainder of their lifetime, meeting their ongoing income needs.
Advantage of Duxbury calculations
The advantage of this to the paying party is that rather than having an ongoing obligation to pay spousal maintenance, the extent of their responsibility is crystalised and the receiving party can no longer refer the matter back to the court to seek further financial provision. In cases where ongoing spousal maintenance is payable, those payments remain potentially variable were either party to experience a significant change in circumstances, requiring the courts to reconsider the duration or level of maintenance being paid. This can of course, leave a couple in an uncertain position.
Pitfalls of a Duxbury fund
One of the pitfalls of a Duxbury fund being provided, is that it assumes the receiving spouse will not remarry. If spousal maintenance is being paid, the remarriage of the dependant party will bring the payments to an automatic end. Under circumstances where a Duxbury fund has been established, the paying party will have provided a lump sum which will not be recoverable in the event of the receiving party’s remarriage. The receiving party may therefore be placed in a preferable financial position, having received the benefit of the lump sum payment and the financial resources of their future spouse.
A further benefit to the receiving party is that the death of the paying person would not affect their position, whereas if spousal maintenance is being paid, death would bring an end to those payments.
There is only very narrow discretion applied when considering the application of the Duxbury calculations however, there may be other matters in contention, such as what the parties’ reasonable income needs are, which would in turn, alter the extent of the fund required.
If you are looking at Duxbury as a potential solution to a maintenance requirement in your case, it is essential that you seek legal advice from specialist family solicitors who routinely use Duxbury and are alive to how it can be applied.
If you would like help and support please contact our family team who will be happy to help.