When you separate, you will need to decide whether or not one of you needs a contribution payable from the other in order to meet their essential living expenses and financial responsibilities. This is called ‘spousal maintenance’.
In order to advise you we will consider both yours and your spouse’s income and expenditure. Fraser Brown will give you a list of income and outgoings for you to complete and once all the figures are available you will be able to decide how much you should either be asking for from your spouse or paying them. Sometimes if you are no longer living in the same house it is appropriate for the absent spouse to continue to meet the mortgage payments rather than provide a monthly sum. Maintenance payments for you may not be appropriate if you are able to meet your financial commitments out of your own income.
If you cannot agree the level of maintenance and you are struggling to pay your liabilities and outgoings you may apply to the Court for an order that your spouse pays you maintenance. If you do so whilst the divorce is still proceeding through the Court, i.e. up until your marriage is dissolved by way of decree absolute, you will be applying for ‘maintenance pending suit’.
If you apply for a financial order through the Courts either by consent or because you have been unable to agree a financial settlement then your order for maintenance after decree absolute may be term limited to a number of years to allow you to get back on your feet or may be paid until death or re-marriage.
Provision may be made in your order to allow the term to be extended if there are reasons why maintenance should continue beyond the cut off date, i.e. if you are caring for a child with a disability.
Maintenance will end upon your re-marriage. It will also end if the paying spouse dies. In this case you may wish to consider taking out insurance to prevent this from happening or in appropriate circumstances you may be able to apply to the Court for an order under the Family And Dependants Inheritance Act.