Understanding Spousal Support

When married spouses come to UK Family Mediation Service Plymouth for mediation, they often want financial resolution. This often leads to conversations about the family home, finances, pensions, and possibly spousal support. For many customers, spousal maintenance might appear rather complex. What exactly is it? Why must one spouse pay alimony to the other after a divorce? What much must be paid? Our certified family mediators often provide the same legal information: There are no universal guidelines; it depends on the specific circumstances.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal maintenance is a kind of income provided by one ex-spouse to the other after a divorce. The payment is sent directly to the spouse and is thus in addition to child support payments. Similar to child support, spousal maintenance is often paid on a monthly basis. When spousal maintenance is awarded, it is typical for the duration to be specified.

Consider child support, which is typically paid until the kid becomes 18 years old. Comparable durations may be used to spousal support. There are, however, situations in which spousal maintenance is provided for the duration of the receiving spouse’s life. These situations are becoming less frequent, although they may still occur.

Why is spousal maintenance a requirement?

It might be difficult to comprehend how a former spouse can be legally obligated to financially assist an ex-spouse. Common law imposes a responsibility on couples to assist one another while they are married or even after divorce.

Significantly, spousal support is not a guarantee and neither spouse has an inherent right to it. Nonetheless, it is often regarded a component of financial agreements. Although discussion of spousal support is left to the parties in mediation, a court would examine two options:

  1. A Clean Break is severing all financial links between the spouses so that neither may make future claims on the other’s assets or property and no spousal support is provided. (Remember that a clean split does not exclude the payment of child support)
  2. Spousal Maintenance – when one spouse requires such payments to satisfy their requirements following a divorce.

The ultimate objective of spousal maintenance is for the spouse who is less financially secure than the other to be able to live independently with their needs covered.

The spousal maintenance functions as a supplement to their income and enables them to live a financially secure life, as near as possible to what it was while they were married.

In addition, the spouse who is less financially secure has often not advanced in their profession since they have spent their lives to being a spouse, having children, and keeping a safe and stable family.

In these cases, spousal maintenance will be the more equitable choice, since it will enable the spouse to go on and establish a new life with financial assistance.

If the couple agrees that spousal maintenance will be necessary, or if the court requires it, then the issue becomes how much must be paid and how long payments will continue.

How long is spousal support payable?

Generally, spousal support is paid for a specific duration determined by the parties or the court. A usual time frame is until the kid reaches the age of 18, at which point maintenance payments might be considered.

Some couples prefer to establish a “joint lifetimes order” in which payments are made for the remainder of the former spouse’s life, depending on their financial resources and requirements.

The duration of spousal support will stop when the specified time expires. The time may be prolonged, however, at the discretion of the parties or where the termination of spousal support would cause excessive hardship. Essentially, spousal support will stop only when it is fair, equitable, and reasonable to do so.

spousal support in UK

The remarriage of the former spouse is another situation in which spousal support might terminate. This establishes a legal contract requiring the new spouses to financially support one another, so eliminating the need for the previous spouse to continue paying payments. Curiously, living with a new spouse lacks this impact. This is due to the fact that cohabitation does not constitute the same legal relationship as marriage.

Does Spousal Support Stop After Duration?

Consequently, although normally spousal support will stop when the agreed-upon period ends, there are situations in which this is not the case and terms might terminate early or be prolonged. Legal specialists are of the opinion that there is a lack of clarity about spousal maintenance that must be addressed. Included below are some significant facts concerning spousal support, which we hope may shed some light on the subject:

  1. Spousal maintenance is distinct from child support.
  2. After divorce, spousal maintenance is based on financial necessity. A spouse may be eligible to spousal maintenance if they do not have a stable source of income following the divorce.
  3. Generally, spousal support orders are issued for specific periods rather than for life. Individual circumstances determine the duration, which is often until children reach the age of 18.
  4. For determining the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid, the income and expenses of both spouses, as well as their level of living throughout the marriage, will be examined.
  5. Any spousal maintenance that is imposed will rely on the capacity of either spouse to make the payments.
  6. Sometimes, the lifestyles of the spouses are taken into consideration; this is often the case when there is a significant economic disparity.
  7. During the specified period, the order may be reviewed if the conditions alter (such as a change in employment).
  8. You may request a modification of a spousal maintenance order throughout the stipulated term.

Does family mediation assist with spousal support?

Absolutely. Prior to submitting an application to the court, divorcing spouses who want to reach a financial settlement are required to utilise family mediation. The expectation is that you will be able to reach financial arrangements among yourself. Here, you may evaluate spousal support and individually reach an agreement.

Mediation procedure

These are the MIAMs (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings). First, you and your partner must attend separate MIAMs. You will meet with a certified family mediator in a private setting to discuss your case.

You will be provided with information on mediation to make an educated choice about whether or not to participate. In addition, your family mediator will evaluate the appropriateness of the case for mediation.

  1. Joint sessions – Second, you will advance to combined sessions if both participants agree to continue at the MIAM and there are no appropriateness concerns. During the joint sessions, you will establish a discussion agenda and go through it with your mediator. You will investigate offers with the intention of reaching an agreement. As part of the joint sessions, you’ll need to provide comprehensive and honest financial disclosure so that you may utilise it as a foundation for conversation.
  2. The mediator will supply you with two papers – if you are able to reach an agreement on your financial offers. The first is the Open Financial Statement, which summarise financial information that was discussed after your financial disclosure. The second document is the Memorandum of Agreement, which contains all the financial offers you have made.
  3. Consent order – After receiving your paperwork, you should see a lawyer and request that your suggestions be written into a consent order. Your attorney will give impartial legal counsel on the suggestions. If confirmed, this will be filed to the court in order to formalise your agreements with a financial order.

Your mediator will give you with a Form A certificate to apply to the Courts for a financial order. At any point during the mediation process, either party chooses to discontinue the mediation or if mediation breaks down.

Johnson Mack

Mack's a passionate wordsmith with a love for all things creative. As an avid explorer of the written realm, he weaves words into captivating tapestries of information and imagination. With a background in literature and a heart that beats for storytelling, Mack brings a unique blend of insight and eloquence to his writing.

Related Articles

Back to top button