M v M: Court orders that husband should not be heard in relation to wife's application for interim maintenance

The case of M v M [2010] EWHC 2817 (Fam) (for some reason also reported with the citation [2011] EWHC 3574) involved a successful Hadkinson application on behalf of the wife.

The case concerned the wife's application for interim periodical payments, under Part III Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. Directions had been given for the wife to file an affidavit in support of the application, and for the husband to file an affidavit in reply. The wife filed her affidavit, but the husband did not, and offered no explanation for its absence. The husband did not attend the hearing of the wife's application, but was represented by leading counsel and junior counsel.

The court was therefore in the position of having to deal with the wife's application with no evidence from the husband as to his financial position.

The wife's counsel submitted to the court that under the principles in Hadkinson v. Hadkinson [1952] FLR 287, the husband should not be heard in relation to the application.

Mrs Justice King considered the principles laid out in Mubarak v. Mubarik [2004] 2 FLR 932, where Ryder J had considered a Hadkinson application, and found as follows:

1. The husband was in contempt;

2. The contempt impedes the course of justice;

3. There was no other effective means of securing compliance; and

4. The contempt was wilful: "This husband has one of the country's most elite teams of matrimonial finance lawyers at his disposal. Instructing them, as he does, to appear today having failed to comply with the court's order and offering it no explanation, shows an unfortunate arrogance and a complete disrespect for the court process."

Mrs Justice King was therefore satisfied that the wife's Hadkinson application succeeded in principle. She adjourned the case for a short period to allow the husband to consider his position, but he did not change his instructions. Accordingly, she acceded to the wife's application, and the husband's counsel left the court.

She then proceeded to make an interim maintenance order, essentially in the amount of the wife's stated income needs.


  1. At a massive amount that means she will be in no rush to be reasonable and settle any time soon.

    Thus a long and protracted divorce becomes even longer and more acrimonious. I don't know which came 1st, the court or the temper, probably the temper and hostility, but I do think that the lawyers don't tend to calm things down.

  2. my vast experience of family law tells me this is a case about who gets to keep the brightly-coloured sweets.

  3. Hmm, not sure family law is for you, SW.


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