Section 25 (1) (e) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;


In divorce financial proceedings this sub-section does not add very much to the factors which will have been taken into account under paragraphs (a) and (b) of the section to the right because obviously mental or physical disability has an effect on a person’s earning capacity and/or foreseeable needs for the future. This sub-section was apparently included in the Act as a result of Parliamentary pressure at the time of the statute’s enactment and really it does not add anything significant to the factors taken into account in these financial proceedings.

Having said that, of course, when the factors mentioned here do come into play they are likely to have a significant effect on the outcome whether there is a separate sub section or whether it falls to be taken into account in the ‘needs’ and ‘resources’ sub sections.

Mental or physical disability will be taken into account in UK divorce law but the way in which that might affect the outcome depends very much on individual and personal circumstances. Clearly if these factors do exist in a given case then they are likely to have a significant impact.

Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 essentially reads:-

”It shall be the duty of the court in deciding whether to exercise its powers ….. to have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of eighteen.

25 (1) It shall be the duty of the court in deciding whether to exercise its powers …. to have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following matters, that is to say –

(a) the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(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;

(c) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;

(d) the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;

(f) the contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;

(g) …the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which … (by reason of the divorce) ..that party will lose the chance of acquiring;…”

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