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What is Spousal Maintenance?

Part of the divorce process requires you both to come to an agreement on financial matters; how assets and debts will be divided, and what maintenance payments (if any) are required to be paid.
Spousal maintenance provides some financial security for the spouse who is unable to support themselves without additional support payments.

How to Claim Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance is an amount awarded by the courts to be paid by the spouse or civil partner with the higher income to the other with the lower income on divorce or dissolution.

To be awarded Spousal Maintenance payments, you will need to prove that you cannot support yourself without payments from your partner. Reasons why you cannot support yourself may include disability, ill-health, dependants or lack of mortgage raising capacity due to low income.

The payment can be made as a one-off payment or it can be applied as regular monthly or annual payments. The length of time this maintenance payment can be awarded varies depending on the circumstances of the receiving spouse. In some cases it can be for life, although the Court will generally try to ensure that there is a clean break at some stage in most cases.

The recipient will lose their right to receive spousal maintenance if they re-marry, however it does not always end automatically if they cohabit, although this can be an agreed trigger point.

The agreed amount can be changed at a later date by Court Order if there has been a change in either the payee or recipient’s circumstances.

It is advisable to seek guidance from family law experts should you wish to apply for Spousal Maintenance or you have been instructed to pay it. Watson Thomas Solicitors are family law experts and offer a free callback. Please submit your details and we'll arrange a free, no obligation callback at a time to suit you.


By Rachel Watson, Watson Thomas Solicitors, Fleet Hampshire