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A man has been told to pay his ex-wife a lump sum so that he can stop making annual payments once he has retired. The case involved a couple who had been married for 22 years before getting divorced in 2005. Both were qualified accountants, but the wife left work to raise their children. When they got divorced, the wife received the family home, and an annual maintenance payment of £90,000, which was later increased to £150,000. The man then re-married and started a family with his new wife. He then found out that his new wife had terminal cancer, so he planned to raise his children himself after his retirement. He wished to end the annual maintenance payments to his ex-wife. She agreed to this, but only on the basis that she received a final lump sum. She pointed out that she had sacrificed her professional career for the sake of the family when the two were married. The man argued that the £2.7m in assets his ex-wife now possessed should be enough to provide for her for the rest of her life. The court ordered the man to make a final lump sum payment to his ex-wife in order to achieve a ‘clean break’ for both. The judge acknowledged that the ex-wife had been treated fairly so far, but pointed out that she must also be treated fairly in this final settlement. It was estimated that she required an annual income of £80,000, of which her estate would provide about £55,000. The husband was ordered to pay a lump sum of £400,000, which would provide the extra annual income she required based on a reasonable prediction of her life expectancy. Please contact Stillwells if you would like any information about divorce settlements, or any other aspect of family law.