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Spousal support – are you entitled to this?

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If you’re going through a divorce, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to receive spousal support from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. As specialist divorce solicitors, spousal support – and entitlement to it – is one of the most common queries our clients come to us with.

In this article, we’ll explain what spousal support is, why it sometimes forms part of a financial settlement and who could be entitled to receive it.


What is spousal support?

Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance, is the regular, ongoing payments one spouse may pay to the other as part of the divorce financial settlement.

This type of maintenance is only for married couples. If you and your partner were never married, you would not be able to apply for spousal maintenance.


Why spousal support after divorce?

When you get a divorce, you may agree to pay the other party ongoing spousal maintenance payments. The purpose of spousal support is to help the financially weaker party to adjust to their financial situation after divorce.

Spousal support does not always form part of the financial settlement upon divorce. In fact, it is becoming more common for couples to aim for a ‘clean break’ divorce, where all financial ties between them are severed as soon as possible after divorce.

Sometimes, for example, a one-off lump sum payment may be more appropriate than ongoing spousal support.


How spousal maintenance works

If your marriage was relatively short – usually less than 5 years – you may be less likely to receive spousal support. Alternatively, you may find that you only receive spousal support for a set, short period of time.

Those in longer marriages could be more likely to pay spousal support. If a couple have been married for a very long time, spousal support could be paid on a ‘joint lives’ basis. This means that one spouse will pay the other maintenance for life, either until they die or the person receiving it dies. ‘Joint lives’ spousal support is becoming less common.

Spousal support should only be paid where one spouse is unable to support themselves financially without it.


Can spousal support be changed?

There are various circumstances which may warrant spousal support being altered.

For example, if the receiving party moves in with a new partner, the payments could be reduced.

In some instances, spousal support can be increased. This could happen if, for example, your former spouse is now earning much more than they were when you agreed on the amount.

Equally, if the person paying the spousal support is now earning much less, they may be able to apply to get the payments reduced.


Am I entitled to spousal support?

In general, the longer the period of time that a couple have been married, the more likely spousal support may be to form part of the financial settlement.

However, everyone’s circumstances are different and spousal maintenance can be a highly complex are of law. This is why it’s always best to seek independent legal advice from an experienced divorce solicitor, such as Austin Kemp.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with spousal support?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to spousal support, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors on spousal support advice

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.


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