When considering matrimonial cases, the Court’s priority is to attain a ‘clean-break’ order between the parties, i.e. an order that all financial claims be settled in one order with no lasting ties. However, this type of settlement is not always possible. If there are insufficient capital assets or there is a significant difference between the spouses’ incomes, there may be no option for the Court but to make a Spousal Maintenance Order, meaning one party to pay part of their salary to the other on a monthly basis.
Spousal Maintenance Orders usually last for a specified term, being either a set number of years or upon the happening of a specific event such as children finishing education. However, in almost all cases, the Court Order will specify the payment period is subject to a further Order, meaning the Court retains control over the Order to vary its terms. This allows the Court to reconsider both the duration of payments and amount payable which as a result could be increased or decreased dependent on the parties’ circumstances, particularly if they have changed since the order was made and if it is considered fair to do so.
Our specialist Family Law team can advise anyone subject to a Spousal Maintenance Order (whether you are either making payments or receiving payments) of its long term implications and whether it may be possible to have its terms varied. For more information contact our family team.