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Lump sum spousal maintenance quantum considered  

Thursday, 02 August, 2007

The Full Court has allowed an appeal, albeit in part, by a husband, against an order for lump sum spousal maintenance in the amount of $3,750,000, child maintenance, an injunction restraining him from leaving Australia and other orders.

The Full Court found that the trial judge's reasons for ordering lump sum maintenance were clear but that the failure of the trial judge to disclose in his assessment process any consideration of prospective disadvantage to the husband constituted a failure of reasons.

Also, it could not be ascertained why the trial judge arrived at $3,750,000 rather than a wide range of other significant figures and accordingly, the Full Court considered the trial judge's reasons inadequate.

The husband's appeal against the injunction, however, was dismissed, as the trial judge placed the injunction on the husband in order to enforce the lump sum payment to the wife. The Full Court found that there was no difficulty with a condition in the nature of enforcement of a court order being placed upon a stay. For the husband to fail to comply with an order which he admitted he had the capacity to pay, and then point to that failure as demonstrative of the lack of utility of an order in the nature of enforcement carried little weight.

The full judgment of Brown andBrown(2007) FLC 93-316 will be published.

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