Are you worried about your finances following divorce and how you are going to pay to look after yourself and the children? This is often one of the main concerns that separating parties have and it is likely to be a key point of contention.
It is important to note that each case is highly fact specific and will be driven by the needs and circumstances of the parties. In this article we will explore Spousal Maintenance and how and when the courts are likely to make an order in respect of this.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal periodical payments are monthly or weekly payments which the court may order one party to make to the other following a divorce.
Spousal Maintenance is separate to Child Maintenance which is dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). You will need a financial order either made by consent or by a judge setting out the periodical payments to be entitled to Spousal Maintenance.
Am I entitled to Spousal Maintenance?
The courts have stated that an award for Spousal Maintenance should only be made by reference to the needs of the parties and with the aim of alleviating significant hardship following divorce.
The court will look at the age and earning capacity of the parties as well as the length of the marriage when deciding whether to make an order.
However, the courts have been clear that they must consider the parties becoming financially independent from each other as soon as just and reasonable. For this reason, the courts prefer there being a ‘clean break’ upon divorce where possible.
How long will I get Spousal Maintenance for?
The court can make orders in respect of Spousal Maintenance for both a ‘fixed term’ and on a ‘joint lives basis’.
The courts are reluctant to make joint lives orders as they wish to ensure the parties’ financial independence is secured in the future. Therefore, it is more likely that the court will order Spousal Maintenance to be for a fixed period of time such as until the children from the marriage attain the age of 18 years.
How can we help?
If you are currently going through a divorce or are considering the same, it is important that you speak with a specialist family solicitor who can advise you of what you may be entitled to in a financial settlement.
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