Securing a fair settlement on divorce
Spousal maintenance is an amount, awarded by the Courts to be paid by the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income when a couple divorce. It is only awarded if one party cannot support themselves without payments from the other. It can be awarded for a specified term or for life in some cases.
The recipient will lose their right to receive the maintenance if they re-marry, however it does not end if they simply cohabit.
On occasions the amount that has been awarded can be varied some years later by way of Court Order, if the circumstances warrant it.
Spousal maintenance may be paid on a regular, normally monthly, basis or can be paid as a single lump sum. This lump sum approach leads to each spouse becoming financially independent of the other and unable to make future financial applications against each other. This is known as a ‘clean break’.
One advantage of a clean break is that it brings certainty to both parties knowing that no further applications can be made. One disadvantage is that the lump sum award cannot be increased at a later date, if for example the recipient fell ill and could no longer work. Therefore, it is essential that you seek specialist legal advice from a family lawyer whilst considering your options so that you secure what is best for you.
Maintenance for a spouse depends principally on the recipient's needs, own income and ability to earn income. There are no set formulas and the amount payable depends on the payer’s net income amongst other factors.
In order to calculate the amount of spousal maintenance you may be entitled to claim one of our family lawyers would need to understand your full circumstances. For a free initial telephone consultation about spousal maintenance call 0800 321 3832 or request a call.
Kimberley Bailey is an excellent lawyer.
Lucy Lester, Bristol (Nov 2013)