10 things that you should know about Spousal Maintenance

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Spousal Maintenance is one of the options available to divorcing couples. It is generally the fall back position if a clean break is not a possible, or the best, option.

Here are some useful facts about Spousal Maintenance and things to consider when you are reviewing your finances after separating:

  1. Spousal Maintenance is different to Child Maintenance. Child Maintenance is statutory and the level is determined by the Child Maintenance Act. The online calculator at www.cmoptions.co.uk is easy to use. Spousal Maintenance is different and there is no calculator to assist.
  2. If you are left with no income following separation, you may be entitled to claim maintenance from your spouse whilst you are dealing with the financial claims, in some cases as an emergency measure. This is based on need.
  3. Your ability to claim Spousal Maintenance is not affected by the grounds for divorce. The behaviour that may bring about the end of a marriage doesn’t affect the financial aspects, aside from in very rare circumstances.
  4. Even if the Court ensures that one party provides for the other by way of maintenance or periodical payments, a maintenance Order isn’t always for life – the period will depend on the individual circumstances.
  5. The Court considers how much income you both need and takes into account the standard of living you enjoyed while you were together.
  6. An award of maintenance is also dependent on the other party’s ability to pay. It is very difficult dividing the assets of one family to meet the needs of two households. Income from all sources needs to be taken into consideration.
  7. If there is a significant difference in the respective incomes of two parties to a marriage, maintenance may be appropriate to take into account lifestyle and as part of a general and fair division of assets.
  8. A maintenance order can be varied at any stage based on circumstances. It is important to think carefully about other methods of meeting your needs and achieving a fair settlement following a separation.
  9. If you can’t currently afford your legal fees, you may be entitled to claim them from your spouse, depending on their level of income.
  10. If you are the one who is paying maintenance, remember that an application may be made to vary this. At this point the Court will reconsider whether a clean break is possible taking into account your assets as well as your income.

Click here to visit our dedicated Family Law page to find out more.


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