The Duxbury Tables

A Duxbury calculation refers to the method used to work out a lump sum that can be drawn by a partner as maintenance for the rest of their life. The idea behind a lump sum is that this can enable a divorcing couple to have a clean break. The Duxbury Tables are based on various assumptions, including life expectancy and inflation, to calculate appropriate maintenance sums. The case below looks at the Duxbury tables in action. This extract can also be found in my new book, ‘Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer’.

CASEBOOK

Mrs S was 52 and had two grown up children. Mr S was 53 and earned £300,000 net per annum. Their house was worth £5 million with no mortgage. Mr S had a pension fund of £1.5 million.

Mrs S required £1.5 million for her housing and had a budget of £100,000 per annum for her income requirements. She received an equal division of the equity in house (£2.5 million) and a clean break that took her surplus £1 million of capital into account. She would receive sufficient income, supplemented by a payment from her husband’s share of the house and his pension fund, to give her £100,000 a year for life.

This calculation was made by reference to the Duxbury Tables.  The computation first arose in the case of Duxbury v Duxbury. The tables give a capital figure, assuming a net of tax income need for either a man or woman for life. The calculation assumes a relatively low rate of investment return, and that some capital will be spent so that on a part investment return, part capital spent basis, the sum provided will be spent at the end of the person’s life, which is actuarially calculated.

This is not the same as an annuity, which is much more expensive to provide. The Duxbury Tables do take into account an uplift for inflation. More specialist Duxbury programmes, such as the amount of capital required to provide a specific income up to or from a certain age, can factor in other capital income and pensions.

If you are about to receive a clean break in exchange for relinquishing your maintenance, you should ask your solicitor to check what you are receiving against the Duxbury Tables, to ensure that you will be properly provided for – and for many people, that means for life.

If you are representing yourself, you can access the Duxbury Tables by subscribing to At a Glance, a family lawyer’s “bible” published by the Family Law Bar Association. At the time of writing, At a Glance costs £50 and can be purchased from www.classlegal.com. Please note, however, that the contents of this book include lots of figures and tables, which may be daunting for the uninitiated. If in doubt, ask a lawyer for help.

Not every spouse will be in such a fortunate position. However if your spouse is earning a substantial income, if there is plenty of capital and if you are entitled to lifetime maintenance, I would be hesitant to advise a clean break unless it can be paid out in full.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but what seems a vast amount at the time may not seem so sizeable ten years later!

 Photo by Images_of_Money via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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8 comments

silver rose - November 17, 2013 at 10:25am

URGENT HELP FINANCIAL E FORM IN FOR THURSDAY

Ex husband earns around £200,000 he used to get £625 in liu of pension and he claims not to have a pension. Wow how irresponsible. I had a car accident when pregnant 8 years ago and he took over everything (controlling, abuse) he went for custody and tied me up making fake claims to benefits office etc so i have no income at all whatsoever and cannot get legal aid. He is very charming and everyone seems groomed by him into not checking his constant lies. We have a £200,000 maybe three equity in our former marital home. I paid in the deposit and he remortgaged. He is clearly irresponsible and unable to provide. I need 18 months of physio to be work ready again even though Im not young and not fully fit, his bullying never allowed me to get better. If I have any capital I can find a way to build up my nest egg again how do I persuade the Judge to really look at the type of man he is not what he appears. They seem not to see that this man prevented me from having any financial say in our futures and abused me for years but I can get back on my feet – given a reasonable chance. I need to be able to stay in FMH home for a a reasonable amount of time to deal with all this.

Marilyn Stowe - November 18, 2013 at 11:58am

Dear Silver Rose
Your comment is very confused but if you have to file your Form E by Thursday and you don’t have a solicitor, go and get yourself one quickly. If you do have a solicitor, then arrange an appointment pronto!
As you say your husband is earning a lot of money and there is a lot of equity in the house, I don’t think you will have problems arranging payment with your solicitors.
You need to think and discuss with your solicitors, a lot of things and if you go on the side bar and download my book it will tell you what you need to consider much more than I can in this reply. Then on this blog you will find sample Form E and how it should be completed to give you a guide as to how to do it. In your Form E you need to be clear about what you have, how much you need out of both of your and your husband’s income and capital and how you see your future including the cost of getting you back to work such as physio etc. etc.
Regards
Marilyn

Marilyn Stowe - November 18, 2013 at 12:00pm

Dear Silver Rose
I have replied to this same question in my detail elsewhere on my blog.
However, do go and see a solicitor pronto!!!!
Regards
Marilyn

Andrew - November 18, 2013 at 1:33pm

Marilyn: as a matter of interest, have the Duxbury tables been updated to reflect the preposterous ruling of the ECJ that you cannot charge women less fo life insurance (and motor insurance in the case of young women) and more for annuities?

London Ex Wife - December 9, 2013 at 10:49am

Dear Marilyn I was married for 7.5 years and have 2 children, I stopped work 12 years ago as husband has high earning job. (Finance own business) Children live with me full time. He remarried 8 months ago to his employee and on return from his honeymoon stopped paying maintenance for both me and children claiming change in financial circumstances. He did not apply to court for variation simply stopped and requested form E’s. My solicitors advised that I would have to apply to court for enforcement which I did. He hired head of family division of top London Divorce Law Firm for high net worth individuals and they started to pay us the CSA rate for the children. It worked out at a reduction of 76% in our maintenance (since court order in 2010)and we applied to the court for enforcement. Having applied in July our initial hearing was only in November. On the 2 occasions until November he did not submit any detailed form e disclosure via his lawyers (I did) and then his lawyers complained in a letter of my overspending since he unilaterally reduced the maintenance. ( I was left with paying for children’s schools fees, all living costs etc) now we have a date in May for FDR. We have to submit our questionnaires in January. (I am supporting us and paying school fees which he is court ordered to do with my savings but will run out in May) I read your comments on FDR and it seems that this is what is happening to me. Last year he bought an enormously expensive house with his fiancee and drive s very expensive cars. I do not work. I wondered if duxbury tables are considered if the marriage was only 7.5 years? I believe his income has taken a down turn but I also know it will increase significantly again within the next year or so. Any advice you can gibe please gratefully received.

Marilyn Stowe - December 10, 2013 at 12:51pm

Dear London Ex Wife
Perhaps I’m doing him a gross injustice but this all looks very pre planned doesn’t it? Gets himself a maintenance order remarries and stops paying the maintenance without applying to vary downwards yet his own standard of living doesn’t seem to suffer. And you are left to pay everything? From what you write you appear to have solicitors advising you. I have no idea about the finances of either of you so I cant comment on an appropriate settlement. But you ask me about Duxbury. Have you or he applied for capitalisation of your maintenance? Its not so much based on the original length of the marriage, (and cohabitation prior to marriage may be relevant) its more about your reasonable needs for the future and you are a non working mum with two children. If capitalisation is being considered then of course they will criticise your over spending because its your current budget they will be looking at. They will also argue you can work and if I were you Id think about what you can do to improve your income. However you may need to retrain or need some more qualifications to get you back into the work place. Have a look at my book, from the side bar of this blog, for a cost of 99p, all proceeds to charity. There is more there which will assist you.
Regards
Marilyn

Emma h - March 4, 2014 at 2:55pm

Can a woman who was in the uk illegally and only married for eleven days ( her partner knew he was ill befor they met and had made her aware of that fact when they met ) before he passed away use the duxbury rule in contesting a will ? This woman had lied to her partner about her status and as he was vulnerable and lonely he did not end the relationships .surely by default of living here illegally makes her claim an insult to our laws .we know from a public statement her partner had said to members of his family that the reasons he was marrying her was to help her in any way it could to remain in the uk and as a Thankyou for staying .not really a genuine subsisting relationship as she contributed nothing to her partners home or living costs ,was denied NTL as insufficient evidence of her right to remain way back in 2008 her partner passed away in March 2013 .also as the duxbury calculation is based on a divorce settlement surly with the family provisions act they can not base her living expenses on this and as she has fled back to the states then surely it’s irreverent by default ?

Andrew - March 4, 2014 at 5:27pm

Have the Duxbury tables been revised to allow for the preposterous ruling of the ECJ that you cannot charge a man for life insurance and less for an annuity?

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