Am I Entitled to Spousal Maintenance? Important Things to Know

An example of an agreement for spousal maintenance entitlements

A divorce is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult things a person can endure. While most would be quick to assume that the emotional side of things causes the most trauma, it’s often finances that cause the most amount of stress. Spousal maintenance is a way for people to remain financially stable even after their marriage has ended.

Money is not only the number one reason for marriages ending, but it also causes an immense amount of unrest both during and after divorce. The dividing of assets can have a serious impact on your financial stability moving forward. If you’re someone who will find it difficult to support yourself after a divorce, you may be entitled to spousal maintenance.

In this post, we’ll take a look at spousal maintenance, paying close attention to what makes you eligible to get it, as well as other reasons that you may need to one.

A Clean Break

When a marriage ends, all of the shared assets such as money and property need to be divided. At this point, many couples opt for a “clean break”. This is where any financial ties between yourself and your partner are ended so that you can both move on with your own lives without being affected by the other in regards to finances.

If you do decide to take the clean break route to settle your divorce and want to ensure that your ex-partner cannot make financial claims against you later, you should ask your family lawyer to draft a court order reflecting the agreement reached between both parties. 

If you are concerned about your ability to support yourself financially post-divorce, then you should be looking into spousal maintenance.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is a regular payment by a former husband, wife, or civil partner to their ex-spouse to support them financially following a divorce. It should be noted that this is different from child maintenance. Spousal maintenance is usually paid monthly and will continue for either a defined amount of time that’s agreed upon or the remainder of the life of either party. The latter is called a “joint lives order”.

Spousal maintenance will end if the recipient remarries or if either the recipient or the payer dies. It can also be concluded if circumstances change, such as the recipient increasing their income or inheriting a significant amount of money. Cohabitation may also cause spousal maintenance to vary.

Who is Entitled to Spousal Maintenance?

When a marriage breaks down, it’s a common concern whether or not one party is entitled to spousal maintenance. It’s not a given that you will be allowed to receive spousal maintenance or that you will a have to pay it. There are several factors that need to be taken into account:

  • Length of marriage
  • Whether each party is currently employed
  • The age of each party
  • Who is/will be looking after the children
  • Whether both parties would be financially stable without spousal maintenance

How Much Will I Receive?

There’s no set amount for how much spousal maintenance you will receive, as this will depend on your financial needs and how much your former-spouse can pay. The amount of spousal maintenance you will receive will depend on the following:

  • How much you require to live on
  • How much you currently earn
  • How much you can potentially earn in the future
  • How much can be afforded realistically by the payer.

It should be noted that this amount can change in the future, which could be an increase, decrease, and even receiving the payment as a one-off. Spousal maintenance can also be dismissed if your financial situation should improve enough to be able to support yourself or if you are supported by someone else.

Are you concerned about managing financially after your divorce? Spousal maintenance might the answer to your problems! Here at KMJ Solicitors, we specialise in all areas of family law and can guide you through the necessary steps to attain spousal maintenance. Get in touch today for a FREE no-obligation consultation.

Clayton spent five years working in family law with a firm in Australia before moving to the UK in 1999. He deals with all aspects of family law, specialising in all family matters, offshore trusts, company structures, international law, prenuptial agreements, high net worth cases and cohabitation law.