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Maintenance - What will I have to pay?

Published on Nov 21, 2019

Probably one of the most common questions that we are asked is ‘what maintenance will I need to pay and how much?’ unfortunately the answer isn’t always clear cut!  If you are considering separating, please make sure you take clear legal advice regarding maintenance.  We offer a free, no-obligation, initial meeting, please contact Nicola Gibbs or Margaret Sculpher to arrange a meeting. 

Types of maintenance
There are two types of maintenance – child maintenance and spousal maintenance.
Child maintenance is usually calculated using a set formula and guideline set out by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). 
Spousal maintenance is maintenance that is paid for the benefit of your husband or wife, but this is not paid in every case, it depends on your circumstances.  

Which maintenance do I have to pay?
Child maintenance is obviously only paid if you have children together and is paid by the non-resident parent to the resident parent.  It is maintenance that is considered to provide a home for the children and contribute to the care of the children.  It is not the case that child maintenance has to be spent on the children directly. 
Spousal maintenance is paid in certain circumstances, it can be paid in addition to child maintenance or as a maintenance regardless of whether you have children. Every case would be considered for its own circumstances and will depend on several factors, as we have said, it is not payable in every case.  We can’t give you examples of every situation that spousal maintenance is payable, but probably the most common examples are: -
•    There is a disparity in your earning abilities, and one earns significantly more than the other
•    If one side can’t pay their outgoings and the other has a reasonable disposable income that they are able to make the payment

How much and how long?
In relation to child maintenance – this is usually calculated using a fixed formula depending on your gross income. It is payable during the children’s minority and is often linked to their education, whether that is A-levels or a university degree.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a straight answer for spousal maintenance!  It depends on the level of outgoings against income and disposable income as a result, what everyone’s long term earning abilities are, if you have children, their ages and their general needs, education and many other factors!

You will see that it isn’t always straightforward.  We can only emphasise the need to take clear legal advice when discussing any financial settlement, but particularly one involving maintenance.

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