Loss of prospects claim succeeds

24th March 2020

“Mother awarded £400,000 for loss of prospects. Giving up potential of becoming a law firm partner to look after the children”

Mr Justice Moor has ruled that a mother who gave up her prospect of becoming a partner, should be compensated for this and she was awarded £400,000 in the recent case of RC v JC. The Judge said he found that there was sufficient relationship-generated disadvantage to the wife, enabling her to claim compensation. In this case both parties worked and met in a law firm. The wife was a trainee but after the parties were engaged she became an in-house lawyer.

The parties disagreed with the wife’s prospects of success. But the Judge was satisfied that she stood a very good chance of becoming a partner in time. Even though the parties had agreed that she would not remain at the same firm after they were married, the parties did want to have children. It was agreed that the wife would become the primary carer for the children. Meaning that the husband’s career took precedence over the wife’s.

Loss of prospects: split decision

There has been some criticism over the recent decision though. Some have voiced their opinion that the parties were most likely earning enough to pay for childcare. And that the wife could have worked at a different firm and become a partner there. There is a also a counter argument that perhaps the husband should have been compensated for the work that he put in, and for missing the children’s childhood, however, this is impossible to put a value on.

Whilst not everyone agrees with the decision, it does now prove that any parent that has sacrificed their career to look after children, could consider making a claim for compensation. However it will only be used in exceptional cases and so parties should seriously consider their position with their lawyer before making such a claim. The Judge made it clear that this case should not open the floodgates for working parents.

The Burtons team

Our Family Law team can be contacted on 01892 824 577 or on family@burtons-solicitors.com. Whether you are looking at separating, or have separated and need to discuss a potential financial settlement, we can help.