Can I Get Spousal Maintenance?

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If you and your former partner can’t reach an agreement it will be up to the Court to decide if you need spousal maintenance so that you can meet your needs, or if you and your partner could both benefit from a clean break.

You might be more likely to get spousal maintenance if you changed the course of your life for your marriage. For example, if you gave up a successful career to stay at home and raise the children. It’s important to know that the Court will always put the children’s best interests first.

The Family Courts in England and Wales usually see the ‘homemaker’ as having just as important of a role as the ‘breadwinner’. So if your divorce is going to leave you struggling with your finances or if your former partner has sufficient assets, the Court could ask them to pay you regular sums of spousal maintenance to top up your income.

You’ll need a Spousal Maintenance Order if the Court decides your former partner should continue to financially support you. If the Court thinks that spousal maintenance isn’t right for you, then it may put a clean break Consent Order in place to cut all financial ties between you and your former partner.

Getting spousal maintenance depends on your situation, so it’s always best to get expert legal advice before you make any decisions or applications.

Get in touch with our specialist Divorce Solicitors for initial legal advice.

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What Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance?

Everyone’s marriage is different and the Court will consider if you need maintenance based on your unique circumstances. Some things the Judge might take into consideration include:

  • How much each of you earn
  • Both your and your partner’s contributions to the marriage
  • Prenuptual agreements
  • Your mental and physical health
  • If there are children involved - although it’s important to remember that spousal maintenance is very different from child maintenance

Our team of Family Law Solicitors are experts at handling divorce cases whether there are children involved or if things just between you and your former partner. We can advise you on what you’ll be entitled to from your marriage, so you can prepare for your future whether your former partner is supporting you or not.

How Long will Spousal Maintenance be Paid?

Normally when the Court puts a Spousal Maintenance Order in place, it will have a clause saying how long the maintenance should be paid for. Spousal maintenance generally stops needing to be paid when one of the following happens:

  • The person receiving maintenance remarries
  • The person receiving maintenance dies
  • The youngest child of the family turns 18
  • Further Order of the Court

If circumstances change and you don’t need spousal maintenance anymore, then you or your former partner could request a variation on your Spousal Maintenance Order.

If your partner remarries, they will still be responsible for paying your maintenance.

It’s important to know that lifetime maintenance payments are rare and the Court generally puts maintenance in place for a fixed period of time to allow for the person receiving maintenance to become self-sufficient.

The Court could leave open the possibility for you to apply to extend the terms of the maintenance payments, for example if you can’t find employment to support yourself. Or the Court will close off that possibility by stating that you can’t apply to extend the term at the time of your divorce.

Is Spousal Maintenance Taxable?

Spousal maintenance will be paid out of your partner’s already taxed income and you won’t be taxed on any maintenance you receive.

How Much Spousal Maintenance can I get?

This will depend on both yours and your former partner’s incomes and what your future needs might be, as well as any earning capacity you may have.

When you apply for spousal maintenance the Court will ask you to create a schedule of your future financial outgoings, so that it can fairly decide if you need maintenance to keep you financially stable. The Court will also need to consider the standard of living during the marriage and the paying person’s ability to pay.

We can help you complete and submit any forms the Court request from you during the divorce process. We know how legally complex divorce can become when things are up to the Court’s discretion, so it’s important that you seek legal advice from an experienced Divorce Solicitor.

Our Divorce Solicitors can just advise you where you need it or complete all applications on your behalf. And with years of experience, our specialist Divorce experts can support you every step of the way so you won’t have to worry about your finances in your new start.

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