Spousal Maintenance Solicitors

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Spousal Maintenance Solicitors

When a married couple divorces and one spouse does not have the financial resources to support themselves, it may be possible to secure ongoing spousal maintenance payments. Working with an experienced family solicitor can help to ensure a fair outcome that means both spouses’ future financial needs are met.

At IBB Law, we regularly advise people going through a divorce in relation to spousal maintenance. In most cases, we can help to negotiate suitable maintenance payments amicably, but we can also assist with court proceedings if an agreement cannot be reached.

You might be worried about how you will support yourself following divorce or be concerned about the potential financial strain of paying ongoing maintenance to your former spouse. Whatever the situation, our experts can guide you to the best possible outcome.

Complete support for spousal maintenance after divorce

At IBB Law, our expertise includes all matters related to spousal maintenance payments, including:

  • Advice on spousal maintenance entitlements
  • Spousal maintenance agreements
  • Spousal maintenance applications (where you can’t reach an agreement)
  • Varying spousal maintenance
  • Non-payment of spousal maintenance

Why choose IBB Law for help with spousal maintenance after divorce?

Our family lawyers can offer you:

  • Extensive experience advising on spousal maintenance, including for high net worth individuals and their spouses
  • Independently accredited expertise with our Family Law team being ranked by leading client guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners
  • Many of our team are members of leading family law network Resolution
  • Our Family Law team is led by Jolene Hutchison, a highly experienced family lawyer who has been recognised in the Legal 500 for combining “exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills” as well as for her “straight-talking approach and honesty about the potential pitfalls of a case”

Discuss your case with our spousal maintenance solicitors

Our spousal maintenance lawyers are available in Uxbridge, Chesham, Reading and Ascot.

You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.

How our spousal maintenance solicitors can support you

Advice on spousal maintenance entitlement

Whether you are the spouse with higher or lower income and assets, it is a good idea to speak to a family solicitor with an expertise in spousal maintenance early in the process of getting divorced. Knowing what you or your spouse may be entitled to can be critical to achieving a sensible division of finances (including maintenance payments where appropriate) as quickly as possible.

Our experts can provide early advice on spousal maintenance entitlements and the best approach to take for your current circumstances and future financial security.

Spousal maintenance agreements

Negotiating a spousal maintenance agreement is normally in both parties’ best interests. This approach can help to keep things more amicable and allow you to retain control over what is agreed. It is also usually much faster and involves significantly lower legal fees than if court proceedings are required.

At IBB Law, we can support you in negotiating a spousal maintenance agreement, including through constructive negotiation, mediation and private financial dispute resolution proceedings. We can give you the best chance of getting a fair agreement that reflects your requirements and financial circumstances while avoiding unnecessary conflict and stress.

Spousal maintenance applications (where you can’t reach an agreement)

In those cases where you cannot agree spousal maintenance amicably, or such an approach is not appropriate, it may be necessary to apply to a family court for decide on spousal maintenance. Where this applies, it is important to have your case carefully prepared with all relevant information about your outgoings and expenses, your income and the income and assets of your former partner.

Our spousal maintenance lawyers can ably support you in preparing your application, as well as making sure your case is constructed strategically and that you have the very best representation.

Varying spousal maintenance

The reality is that people’s requirements and financial situations change over time. As such, it is important to recognise that the level of spousal maintenance that is set may need to change as well. This could be due to the receiving spouse’s own income or needs changing or that of the paying spouse.

Where spousal maintenance was negotiated voluntarily, it will often be possible to agree to vary the payments amicably. However, if spousal maintenance was court ordered or a friendly resolution cannot be reached, you may need to apply to a court to vary spousal maintenance.

Our team will be happy to review your current spousal maintenance and advise on whether there may be grounds to vary spousal maintenance and guide you through the process of doing so where appropriate.

Non-payment of spousal maintenance

Should the paying spouse cease making the agreed or court-ordered payments, the receiving spouse will typically have a range of options. In the first instance, it is usually better to approach things in a friendly, proactive way to try to understand the reason for the stopped payments and see if an amicable resolution can be reached.

If this is not possible, then as long as the spousal maintenance was court ordered or affirmed by a court with a consent order, then the receiving spouse should be able to take action to enforce payment.

In such scenarios, it is really important to seek specialist legal advice. Our experts will be happy to step in to find a positive outcome or assist with applying to a court to enforce spousal maintenance payments as necessary.

Common questions about spousal maintenance after divorce

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance normally refers to ongoing payments made by someone to a former spouse, although the money can sometimes be paid as a lump sum instead.

How does spousal maintenance work?

Exactly how spousal maintenance works will depend on the circumstances. As covered above, it can either be ongoing or it can be paid as a one-off lump sum which is known as capitalised maintenance.

A key advantage of ongoing payments is that it gives continuous financial security, but the risk is that either party’s circumstances could change, meaning the payments could be reduced or stopped. Another issue to consider is that this keeps the former spouses financially tied together, with one dependent on the other, which is often not desirable.

Agreeing a one-off payment can be a better choice in some circumstances as it gives the receiving spouse a guaranteed amount and cuts the financial tie between the spouses. However, both spouses are taking a risk that they could end up worse off as result of this approach. It is therefore essential to take specialist advice at an early stage.

Where spousal maintenance is ongoing, it can either be paid indefinitely or for a fixed term. For example, it might be paid while the lower earning or non-earning spouse is still acting as the primary carer for children or for an interim period to allow them to restart or develop their career to increase their earnings.

How do I apply for spousal maintenance?

In the first instance, it is usually best to attempt to agree spousal maintenance as part of your financial settlement. This typically allows people to reach a fair outcome faster and with lower legal costs than court proceedings, as well as avoiding unnecessary conflict and stress.

That said, sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement and it may not always be appropriate to try, for example, if there has been a history of domestic abuse. In these cases, you can apply for spousal maintenance to a family court. This will generally be done when applying for a financial order to decide the overall division of finances.

How is spousal maintenance calculated?

There is no set formula for calculating spousal maintenance – what is agreed or ordered by a court will be determined based on the receiving spouse’s reasonable needs, their existing financial resources and the income and assets of the paying spouse.

How long does spousal maintenance last?

As stated above, spousal maintenance will either last indefinitely or for a fixed period, depending on what has been agreed or ordered by a court. However, it is important to note that spousal maintenance will cease if the receiving person remarries.

Can I apply for spousal maintenance after divorce?

Whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance will entirely depend on the situation, so it is sensible to speak to an expert either before starting divorce proceedings or as early as possible in the process.

Generally, you may be eligible for spousal maintenance if you would be unable to financially support yourself after your divorce and your former partner has the financial resources to provide additional support.

What happens to spousal maintenance if one of the former spouses dies?

Spousal maintenance will end if the receiving spouse dies and, unless specific provision is made in the paying spouse’s Will, then their death would normally also end the arrangement. It is therefore important to consider this possibility when deciding what sort of spousal maintenance arrangements will make sense for your circumstances.

Discuss your case with our spousal maintenance solicitors

Our specialist family lawyers with expertise in spousal maintenance are available in Uxbridge, Chesham, Reading and Ascot.

You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.