April 26th, 2019
When a couple divorces, there are various potential financial claims which can arise. One which we receive a lot of questions about is spousal maintenance and, put simply, whether it is payable. Obviously, whether it is or not can have a potentially significant financial impact for both parties.
So, what is spousal maintenance? It is a regular payment (usually monthly or weekly) to your husband or wife, which continues even after the end of the marriage. It is different and separate from child maintenance.
What would be payable? Unlike child maintenance, no strict formula applies to calculating spousal maintenance. It can only be quantified by applying a checklist which is set out in legislation. In the most basic of terms, spousal maintenance is calculated by balancing the income/earning capacity of each party against their respective income needs, taking into account all the circumstances of the case. Needs of the parties will be considered in the context of what is in the “pot” for distribution. Income needs will be established by the parties setting out in detail their income requirements as against their need. In the majority of cases, meeting essential needs is all that is going to be achievable.
What will the court look at apart from need? As a result of case law, the court will also take into account fairness, any compensation it might consider payable as a result of loss of career opportunity as a result of marriage, and once reasonable need has been met, the sharing of any other wealth.
How long will it be payable for? That also depends on the circumstances. It might be payable: for as long as both you and your spouse are alive; for a fixed non-extendable period; for a fixed period that can be extended; or by way of a lump sum instead of ongoing payments. The period is considered within the context of the time it will take for adjustment to independence
Whether spousal maintenance is going to be a factor in your case depends upon your specific circumstances, and is just one of many financial claims to be considered on divorce. For advice on how spousal maintenance might impact you, contact one of our solicitors here at Hawkins Family law to discuss further.
Sarah has joined the team at Hawkins Family Law – a firm described as “exemplary” by the Legal 500 (2015) in May 2018 - as an Assistant Solicitor. Sarah’s route to Family Law is a slightly unusual one in that, for many years, she specialised in business disputes as a commercial litigator before becoming a family solicitor.
Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.
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What the team is known for
Boutique family law firm that punches above its weight in terms of high-value and complex matrimonial finance instructions relating to business assets, pensions and substantial property portfolios, including assisting with the handling of assets abroad. Also represents clients in the negotiation of wealth protection agreements and private law childcare arrangements. Fields a team trained in collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution.
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