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(b) the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

In UK divorce law this section of the Matrimonial Causes Act is also very important in practice. Almost always each party will have a need for accommodation and to maintain him/herself. Where there are dependent children their needs to be housed and maintained will be extremely important. Naturally, if the dependent children are to live, say, with the wife her need for accommodation will very likely be much more important than that of her husband and for this reason the former matrimonial home is often ordered to be transferred into the sole name of the wife. This is not the only reason for this phenomenon but it is almost certainly among the more important reasons.

Balancing the competing needs of husband and wife in ancillary relief proceedings can be very difficult and there is often no easy answer. This is particularly the case where, say, the husband has re-married and now has a new wife and children. He will obviously have obligations towards them and balancing their needs against those of the former spouse and/or children is hard to do. Almost any solution will probably not be welcome to the new family.

Sometimes it is not easy to distinguish between legal and "moral" obligations in this field and the courts are not strict about making any such division. For instance, a husband might have been maintaining an elderly parent for years and this is not strictly a legal obligation yet the courts would be unlikely to ignore it and order that the money so used be diverted to the benefit of the ex-wife or children in future. Cases like these show just how fine the judgments can be in many cases.



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