In this week’s mini blog, Rebecca Silcock takes a closer look at spousal support which is more commonly called “maintenance”. This is a payment made by one spouse to another following a divorce. Unlike Child Maintenance there is no formula to calculate it.
Whether maintenance will be paid depends on a host of factors but essentially boils down to needs. In cases of a short childless marriage where both parties are earning similar amounts or can afford to meet their needs then maintenance is unlikely to be awarded. In longer marriages where earnings are disproportionate or one party is not and has not worked for some time then maintenance is more likely to follow.
In considering spousal support the court has to consider how much each party could earn, so even if you are not working the court will usually expect you to look into how soon you could work and how much you could earn and whether you need to retrain.
Secondly, you would have to calculate your income needs. If there is a shortfall between you needs and income and your spouse has the income to meet the shortfall then maintenance may be awarded.
The question of how long it is paid for depends on your ages and whether your earnings could potentially increase. If there are pensions that are shared then this is often the point at which maintenance would cease. Where there is uncertainty about future earnings the length of the maintenance term can be extendable.
If there is enough capital then a lump sum payment can be made instead of ongoing maintenance.
If you remarry then maintenance will stop. Don’t forget maintenance is never written in stone as if either of your circumstances change for better or worse it can be varied up or down.
Maintenance is complex and every case is different so do take legal advice.
If you would like more information, please contact us on 01225 75000 to arrange a fixed-fee initial consultation.