The end of a marriage or civil partnership can be a very long, stressful and often complicated process. Under these circumstances, the last thing a financially unstable/weaker partner would or should think about is how they will support themselves once the relationship comes to an end, and their partner who they relied on financially for months or years is no longer a in their life to support them. We are here to help you and assist you in understanding what spousal support is and whether you are eligible for the claim or liable to pay your spouse.
What is spousal maintenance?
When you divorce your spouse or dissolve a civil partnership in England or Wales, one of you may agree or may be liable to pay the other either a lump sum or ongoing payments, which could be for a certain period of time (term of years) or for the rest of the parties’ life. This is known as the joint lives order. Although couples would prefer a ‘clean break’, this isn’t always possible due to the nature of divorce and therefore, spousal support is put in place to ensure the final financial arrangements between the couple are fair and viable for both parties. It is important to note that maintenance is only paid where one partner cannot financially support themselves and it will come to an end if the recipient remarries or either party dies. Other than that, only the Court can vary or dismiss the maintenance if it deems necessary due to change of circumstances. Factors such as how much money you require daily/weekly, how much, if any income you already have, how much you could potentially earn in the coming future and so on will make an impact on how much you are entitled to receive.
In short-term marriages (usually less than five years) maintenance may only be paid for a short period of time, known as ‘term order’ or in some cases, it may not be paid at all. Whereas, in longer relationships there is a possibility that maintenance will be paid until one partner dies.
What is a clean break?
A clean break is the end to the financial ties between the couple as soon as reasonable after the divorce/dissolution. When deciding how the property and assets will or should be divided between yourself and your partner, you can also arrange for a ‘clean break’ of your finances. Subsequently, no spousal maintenance is owed or can be claimed. However, to ensure this agreement is guaranteed and that your spouse certainly cannot make any financial claims in the future, it is necessary to get a Court order. This order would set out the financial arrangements between the couple and clarify that a clean break has been agreed to between both parties.
Paying a lump sum to get a clean break – it may be possible in some cases that enough money is available to ‘buy out’ the maintenance claim made by the financially weaker partner. As this is a complex area of law, our professional team are happy to discuss his with you and assist you in understanding this further and better.
Are you eligible?
If you believe you are eligible for spousal maintenance, please get in touch with us to discuss further and understand the procedure of applying and costs involved.