Spousal maintenance is a highly contested issue in divorce proceedings. For the financially weaker spouse, it is imperative they receive enough money to maintain a reasonable lifestyle for themselves and their children. And naturally, the wealthier spouse is often reluctant to pay money to an ex-spouse for many years following the end of the marriage.
One of the reasons spousal maintenance, during and post-divorce causes so much angst is it very misunderstood.
RVS Solicitors Can Help Your Spousal Maintenance Claim
Our family law Solicitors are determined to ensure all our clients understand the legal position concerning their case fully before making any decisions.
As a modern, dynamic law firm which invests in talented people and the latest technology, we will provide you with confidence that, when it comes to spousal maintenance, your best interests will be protected.
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- What is spousal maintenance?
- How long does spousal maintenance last?
- Am I entitled to spousal maintenance?
- Can I claim spousal maintenance during divorce so I can pay the bills?
- Can my spouse and I reach an informal agreement regarding the payment of spousal maintenance?
- How will the Court decide on how much interim spousal maintenance to award?
- Can I apply to vary a spousal maintenance order?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What is spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is a payment made by one party to another during and after divorce. It can comprise of a lump sum; however, in most cases, it is made by periodic payments which may go on for a set number of years or for the remainder of the parties’ life (known as a “joint lives order”).
How long does spousal maintenance last?
Spousal maintenance payments end when the recipient remarries or upon the death of either party. If there is a change of circumstances the Court may vary or dismiss the order for maintenance.
Am I entitled to spousal maintenance?
When deciding whether the payment of spousal maintenance should be part of the financial settlement, the Court will consider the factors listed in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. These include, but are not limited to:
- The age of the parties and the length of the marriage
- The financial resources and future earning potential of either party
- The needs of dependents
- Any physical or mental disabilities of the parties or children
- The contributions (both financial and in terms of looking after the family) made by each party
Whether spousal maintenance will be payable depends on the individual circumstances of the marriage or civil partnership. For example, if one party left a lucrative career to work part-time in a less pressurised industry in order to be available for the needs of children or elderly parents, it may be appropriate they receive spousal maintenance for a period of time whilst they re-establish their financial position.
Can I claim spousal maintenance during divorce so I can pay the bills?
Rakhi and her team can arrange for interim spousal maintenance if you have little or no income. Again, as with post-divorce spousal maintenance, it is preferable to have one of our Solicitors support you and your spouse to agree on terms for interim maintenance, or by using mediation. However, if this is not possible due to the circumstances of the marriage (for example in circumstances of domestic abuse) or you both cannot agree, we can apply to the Court for interim spousal maintenance.
Can my spouse and I reach an informal agreement regarding the payment of spousal maintenance?
The family law system in England and Wales encourages couples to work out financial settlements following divorce between themselves rather than obtain a court order. If a dispute develops, parties are encouraged to resolve issues through round-table negotiation and/or mediation, rather than litigation. If you do make an agreement regarding spousal maintenance, it is important to receive smart, pragmatic legal advice from our team and apply for a Consent Order once an agreement is reached to make it legally binding and enforceable.
How will the Court decide on how much interim spousal maintenance to award?
To secure an order for interim spousal maintenance from the court you will need to provide full disclosure of your finances (including any debts), and a breakdown of how much you require to live on a day-to-day basis
The Court may award interim spousal maintenance after a decision is made on a reasonable amount. Once you divorce or your civil partnership dissolution is finalised, the payments will end.
Can I apply to vary a spousal maintenance order?
You can apply to the Court to vary a spousal maintenance order; however, it is crucial you seek advice from one of our Solicitors beforehand. We will advise you on your prospect of success as it is important to note an order for spousal maintenance can be varied up or down. In addition, if you lose your case, you may be ordered to pay your spouse’s legal costs.
Our team have an in-depth understanding of all aspects of spousal maintenance and will advise you in a practical, intelligent, approachable manner, ensuring your best interests are always protected.