Getting a divorce or separation can be a difficult time for everyone involved and this can be made even more painful and complicated if you have a spouse that is financially dependent on the other spouse. But there are certain ways that can help resolve any problems you have and help you to organise your finances.

It can be a confusing topic to get your head around, so to help you out here’s everything you need to know about spousal support…

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is relevant to legal cases involving separation and divorce and is commonly referred to as spousal maintenance. In basic terms, it describes the process of when one spouse pays the other spouse a certain sum of money, often paid monthly.

This payment is mainly decided on the finances of both spouses, and which spouse is more financially stable or needs financial assistance to begin life after a separation or divorce.  

Different Forms Of Spousal Support…

There are various types of alimony that can be awarded based on personal circumstances, lasting a couple of months or up to a few years. Here are the most common types of spousal support…

Temporary Maintenance…

As the name suggests this is a temporary payment that is made to one spouse for a specific period of time. The payments stop once the spouse is able to financially recover after divorce or separation proceedings. This type of spousal support allows both spouses to maintain their lifestyles while they are going through a difficult time. 

Permanent Maintenance…

This is a long term payment plan, where one spouse pays the other spouse until they die or until the spouse receiving the support gets remarried. In this case, payments may be contested. For example, if the spouse paying the support gets a promotion, the receiver may choose to petition for bigger payments. This works exactly the same as if the spouse paying, loses their job or they take a pay cut, payments will then reduce to the other spouse. 

Rehabilitative Maintenance…

Rehabilitative maintenance describes a spouse being awarded financial support with things like university expenses or job training. This is relevant for those who still need to make a living and return to their job after a divorce or if they have relied on your partner’s income whilst together.

What Does It Include?

Spousal support is intended for expenses including clothes, food, accommodation and basic travel. Payments shouldn’t be used for buying anything outside of these categories such as holidays, it’s simply to help a spouse to get back on their feet financially. 

Common FAQ’s…

There are various questions that are associated with spousal support including the following:

  • What happens if I stop paying? 
  • What happens if you can’t pay?
  • Will I have to pay spousal support?
  • How long does spousal support last?
  • How is it determined?

Our expert solicitors can help you to understand spousal support and answer these questions. If you think that you are entitled to spousal support, or you believe you may need to start paying it, we can advise you on your next steps. Get in touch today