My Spouse is Refusing to Pay any Maintenance to Me Until We Have Reached a Final Settlement
Is that fair?
Following a separation, spouses are commonly worried about how they will afford to live, particularly where the other spouse was the main “breadwinner” or where there are concerns about how mortgage repayments will be met.
Very often, separating couples are able to agree the amount that one person will pay to the other to meet their outgoings pending a full financial settlement being reached (which would deal with long-term maintenance as well as the general division of their assets and liabilities)
However, where the couple is unable to agree this, it is possible for the party that requires an income from the other to make an application to the court for what is known as Maintenance Pending Suit; a regular payment of money pending a final settlement to meet their routine outgoings.
The purpose of Maintenance Pending Suit is to keep the recipient “afloat” and is very much a short-term fix until a final settlement is reached. The court will endeavour to reach a fair outcome which takes into account the standard of living during the marriage, and the court must balance the amount sought by the recipient against the payer’s own income and essential outgoings - the payer’s ability to pay the amount that is sought. The court will be reluctant to allow provision for luxury items or any expenditure which was not usually incurred during the marriage.
It is also possible to make an application at the same time for a payment in respect of the financially-weaker party’s ongoing legal fees, so that they can afford to take advice in relation to the divorce and financial settlement.
If you need advice in relation to maintenance following separation, please contact Karen Pritchard or a member of the Family Team on 01279 755777.