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When a relationship ends, it is common knowledge that financial support for children must be provided, but what about your spouse? Is it only applicable to the rich and famous, or does it apply to everyday couples, too?

In this month’s blog, we will delve into the topic of spousal maintenance, its definition, how much you may have to pay, and the terms and conditions that come with it.

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal or civil partnership maintenance refers to the income one spouse or civil partner pays the other. It is a separate payment to child maintenance. It’s a common topic of discussion when couples separate and can be one of the biggest causes of conflict in divorce proceedings.

Who is eligible for spousal maintenance?

In the case of deciding whether to award spousal maintenance, several factors, such as the below, would need to be considered.
• How long you’ve been married
• Who has the custody of children for the majority of the time
• The employment status of both partners
• The financial feasibility of managing independently
• Your age

Every situation is different, and specific circumstances should be considered before making a decision. An example of a typical case where spousal maintenance is granted is when a partner gives up their career to raise children and cannot manage financially after a separation.

What happens if you think you are entitled to spousal maintenance?

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are other important questions that you should consider. For instance, are you ready to take the matter to court if your ex-spouse does not agree to the spousal maintenance? It is also essential to understand if spousal maintenance is the right option for you or would a clean break and lump sum would be more beneficial. Additionally, if you plan to remarry, please note that all spousal maintenance payments will stop.
In most cases, spousal maintenance is settled through a solicitor or mediation. However, if both parties disagree, your case could go to court, and the court would decide if you are entitled to payment and how much you should receive.

How much is spousal maintenance?

The payment amount will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the income and realistic needs of the eligible person and the ability to make the payments from the other. We recommend seeking expert legal advice before making any agreements or proceeding to court, as every case is unique and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

How long do you receive spousal maintenance for?

Depending on the circumstances, you could either receive payments indefinitely or for a fixed period of time. It would be more likely that if you are of an older age or have been married for a long time, your ex-spouse would have to agree to an indefinite payment. However, if your marriage was short-lived or you have children and it’s agreed that will not work in the short-term, a fixed-term payment schedule may be more appropriate.

It is important to note, that if you agree to voluntary spousal maintenance, it is imperative to obtain legal advice to ensure that the agreement is fair and just for both parties involved.

Our team is highly experienced in family law, particularly with high-net-worth clients, so if you need any further support on divorce or maintenance, please get in touch today.