Clean Break settlement orders and the Duxbury calculation

8th March 2015 by


A clean break settlement on divorce means just that – a clean break from financial dependency and/or ties, so any future lottery win would be yours to keep and you can walk away from the relationship safe in the knowledge that your future finances are yours to handle as you see fit.

Of course, whether you are seeking the advice of a divorce solicitor in Brighton, London or anywhere in the UK for that matter, it is always best to find out what the potential ramifications of a clean break settlement will be, and at Healys we have many years’ experience advising clients who have overseas business interests, extensive property and share portfolios, and complex financial interests, on the most suitable financial settlement arrangements for their particular circumstances.

Wealthy couples and the clean break settlement on divorce

In all divorce financial settlement rulings, the court’s ultimate goal is to eliminate monetary ties between former-spouses. This can only be fully achieved with a Clean Break order. However, in many divorce financial claims, especially where there are minor children to consider or where there is little or no capital available, a Clean Break may not feasible.

If a marriage has been relatively short, childless and the dependent spouse requires a period of adjustment in order to become financially independent, a court may order a Time-limited Clean Break. A schedule of maintenance payments (periodical payments) is agreed and once these are made in full the couple would be free of on-going financial obligations to each other. The court would consider how long it may take the recipient of periodical payments to become financially independent of their ex-spouse and order spousal maintenance to be paid accordingly.

When there is capital available to enable a Clean Break, the court will consider:

  • the availability of funds;
  • each spouse’s potential earning capacity, and;
  • whether either party plans to remarry.

In a high-value divorce settlement, usually after a long marriage where children are grown up, if the dependent spouse is at an age where career prospects are low the court will use a system known as the Duxbury calculation to work out a lump sum sufficient to meet that spouse’s needs for the rest of his or her life, subject to a certain amount of expenditure per annum.

Duxbury Tables base calculations on a set of assumptions, including life expectancy and inflation, to determine suitable amounts.

In a high-value settlement the court may choose to apply the Duxbury calculation to determine maintenance requirements for an ex-spouse and once this amount has been determined, any surplus wealth may be divided equally between the divorcing couple.

When mediating over a divorce financial settlement claim it may be necessary to get independent financial advice regarding Duxbury calculations before entering into an agreement. Once an agreement is made and the Cosent Order is agreed by the court, if it is later found to be punitive in respect of one party, it can be difficult or even impossible to have the order varied.

Healys full-service law firm has all the expertise you need

Healys’ divorce solicitors in Brighton have the benefit of being able to call upon the services of independent financial advisors and, within the practice, we have lawyers proficient in international and commercial law. So, whatever your circumstances, Healys has the expertise to advise you fully on your best course of action in a divorce financial claim.

For more information on the service we provide, please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or email for Brighton. For London please contact Jane Sanders on 020 7822 4107 or email