Spousal maintenance is a term used to describe financial support paid by one spouse to the other after they get divorced. It is a way to ensure that both spouses maintain a similar standard of living following the end of their marriage.
To be eligible for spousal maintenance, you must be divorced. Spousal maintenance is an Order the court can make after financial remedy proceedings have concluded. Maintenance payments before this time come under the description of ‘Maintenance Pending Suit’.
The legal basis for a spousal maintenance claim in England and Wales is found in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. According to this act, the court has the authority to order spousal maintenance if it is deemed necessary and appropriate in the circumstances of the case. This is, of course, a simplification of the full discretion that the court has.
When considering a spousal maintenance claim, the court considers various factors, including the financial needs and obligations of both spouses, their ages, health, and earning capacities. The court also considers the duration of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, and the contributions made by each spouse, both financially and non-financially, towards the welfare of the family.
For a claim to be successful, it is important to demonstrate that you have a genuine financial need for spousal maintenance. This means showing that cannot to meet your reasonable financial needs from your own income or other available resources. For example, if you have been out of the workforce for a long time and lack the necessary skills or qualifications to secure a well-paying job, you may be entitled to spousal maintenance.
The court will also consider the ability of your former spouse to pay spousal maintenance. This involves examining their income, earning capacity, and financial resources. The court aims to achieve a fair outcome that takes into account the financial means of both parties. Just because your former spouse earns a higher income than you does not mean you will be entitled to spousal maintenance payments.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance is not automatically granted in every case. The court aims to achieve a balance between the financial needs of the recipient spouse and the paying spouse’s ability to meet those needs. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
How is spousal maintenance decided?
Spousal maintenance can be agreed upon between the parties through negotiation or mediation, or it can be determined by the court if the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, either party can apply to the court for financial matters to be determined, which can include consideration of a spousal maintenance order.
It’s worth mentioning that spousal maintenance is rarely a lifelong obligation on the paying party. The court typically aims to help the recipient spouse become financially independent over time. Therefore, spousal maintenance orders often have a fixed duration or include provisions for regular reviews to assess the ongoing need for support.
In summary, spousal maintenance in England and Wales is a form of financial support provided by one spouse to the other following divorce. To be eligible, you must have been married and demonstrate a genuine financial need for support. The court considers various factors, such as the financial needs and obligations of both parties, their earning capacities, and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. The court aims to achieve a fair outcome based on the specific circumstances of each case, taking into account the financial means of both parties. Spousal maintenance can be agreed upon between the parties or determined by the court if necessary. It is important to seek legal advice to understand your rights and obligations regarding spousal maintenance.
Family Law Solicitor Near Me
For further advice on your entitlement following the breakdown of your marriage, please contact Bridge McFarland LLP to arrange a preliminary appointment. Our experienced divorce solicitors understand the overwhelming nature of organising your affairs following the breakdown of a relationship. We will do all we can to support you in achieving a favourable outcome.