Firstly, a clean break can be agreed or ordered in which all assets are disposed of between the parties by one off transfers or lump sums etc., and future financial claims are dismissed.
The alternative is provision for spousal maintenance, also known as periodical payments. Spousal maintenance is usually applied as part of a combination of remedies that may include a lump sum payment but also as an ongoing financial commitment from one party to the other for a defined term.
In assessing if spousal maintenance is appropriate the parties or the court must consider the criteria established by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s25 and, in particular, the needs of the parties, the ability of one party to pay the other and the amount necessary to meet needs.
A spousal maintenance order can be varied once made. This means that either the parties can agree or the court can order changes to the amount paid, the duration of payment or the termination of maintenance. Consideration can also be given to capitalise the maintenance. Put very simply this means that one party can agree or be ordered to accept a lump sum or some other capital transfer in lieu of ongoing maintenance. Again decisions would be based on the parties’ needs and financial circumstances at the time.
Spousal maintenance can be sought during the divorce process. This is known as interim maintenance or maintenance pending suit. This is a short term remedy.
Maintenance for children of the family, marriage or civil partnership is a separate matter.
Thursfields’ family law lawyers are a team that is dedicated to your personal circumstances and achieving the right and best results for you. We know that going through a relationship breakdown can be an emotional roller coaster and we are here to assist every step of the way.