Spousal Maintenance


Following divorce proceedings, you may be ordered to pay your former spouse money in order to help with their living costs and maintenance after separation. This is known as spousal maintenance and is often one of the most difficult aspects of any marriage breakdown or separation. These regular outgoing payments form part of the financial settlement and can only be claimed if you were married. It is important to note that spousal support is different and separate to child maintenance which is solely for the benefit of any children from the marriage.

Our family law specialists at Kabir Family Law, can help with divorce spousal maintenance and ensure that after a marriage breakdown, you are receiving the support that you need from your ex-spouse in order to live.

Our experts also help spouses who are being asked to make spousal maintenance payments when it is not necessary and help spouses to put a legal agreement in place that is suited for both parties.

Spousal Maintenance Contents

When is spousal support needed?

Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance, maybe applicable where following a separation one of the spouses is left with no income. In order to determine the amount of spousal maintenance the court will consider the standard of living enjoyed during the time both partners were together.

Do I need to pay spousal support?

Spousal support is needed when one person within the marriage breakdown is significantly financially weaker than the other and requires another form of income to meet their basic needs.

Our family law specialists at Kabir Family Law can assist you in reviewing and assessing whether you need to pay spousal maintenance to your former spouse. When considering spousal maintenance many factors need to be considered. Length of the marriage is one of the key factors considered. Generally, if the marriage was one of long term then spousal maintenance may be payable.

If you have given up your career to allow the career of your former spouse to progress during the term of the marriage, this could strongly support a case for divorce spousal maintenance as you can successfully argue that you have given up work to look after the home and or children.

The age of the parties will also be a key factor in deciding whether the financially weaker spouse will be able to maintain themselves given their age and the time they have been out of active employment. This is a highly complex area and our family law experts are happy to discuss your matter and claim for spousal maintenance given that each marriage has varying circumstances.

However, if both parties are deemed as financially equal, a clean break order can be issued. This means that you will not have to pay maintenance to your spouse after you have separated. Our specialists can assist you in this highly complex matter and will be happy to discuss this issue with you in more detail.

How much spousal maintenance am I expected to pay?

There is no set formula for contact spousal maintenance. In order to work out fair spousal maintenance costs, the Court will need to see evidence and projections of each persons’ expected outgoings. These will be scrutinised and depending on the accuracy of each projection, the Court will decide whether or not either spouse is required to pay maintenance – and how long for.

The level of financial support that you are required to pay your spouse after a separation depends on a variety of factors, including whether or not each party has a consistent wage and the capacity to achieve higher earnings.

How long does spousal maintenance last?

The court has a duty to dismiss the obligation between the former spouses as soon as reasonably possible. If the financially weaker spouse moves into employment or re-training and is financially able to support them self, then our family specialists can assist you in trying to reach an agreement with your former spouse to reduce or end the maintenance. If an agreement is unable to be reached, then you can look to apply to the court to vary the spousal maintenance.

Can Spousal support be until a specific agreed event?

It is important to note that spousal support can be for a fixed term of years or until a specific agreed event, i.e. when the financially weaker spouse begins to earn a certain amount of income. Spousal maintenance can also be payable for the parties joint lives and depends on the individual circumstances. It is important to note that spousal support will stop should the spouse receiving the maintenance remarries.

In order to discuss this complex issue please contact our specialists who would be happy to arrange a consultation to consider your individual circumstances and discuss your query in detail.


  • What does a Court consider when deciding maintenance payments? The Court will consider the length of the marriage, future earning potential, the standard of living throughout the marriage and other financial commitments.
  • What happens if a spouse gets re-married? If a spouse who is receiving spousal support from their ex-partner decides to re-marry during the period that payments are being made, the spouse will no longer be entitled to spousal support from their previous partner.

Can a change in my financial circumstances affect the level of spousal support?

The maintenance order from the court will outline the duration in which you’re expected to pay spousal maintenance. This can be for a limited period of time, until one spouse dies or until the youngest child that you share turns 18 years old or for the joint lives of the spouses.

The maintenance period can also be affected by a change in circumstances. This means that if the spouse you’re paying maintenance to gets into employment after the financial arrangements have been decided, they may not need your financial support anymore or may need reduced maintenance and so the spousal support can be varied or stopped.

Disputing spousal maintenance 

Because spousal maintenance is so complex, it’s often difficult for two spouses to agree on a maintenance fee. However, it is important for both parties to settle on an agreement that is financially suited to them and any children involved.

In the instance that a spouse disagrees with the spousal maintenance plan that the Court has put into place, animosity between the two parties can escalate and make it difficult to organise other factors such as child custody arrangements and financial settlements.

Arrange a consultation with our Family Law Specialists today

To discuss your options today, get in touch with our team of experts. With our experience in solving complex spousal maintenance disputes and organising fair payments for both parties, we’re sure that we can help you. Did you know as well covering nationally that we have family lawyers in Newcastle, York, Oxford, Fulham and London.