This is a particularly common issue and, understandably, will cause you anxiety and uncertainty. However, all is not lost as the courts in England and Wales have wide-ranging powers that will ensure that your ongoing needs are met. The family court can order your husband/partner to pay ongoing spousal maintenance in addition to any child maintenance that the Child Maintenance Service might assess. They can also order interim spousal maintenance until a final order is made.Back in June 2016, the Family Justice Council published guidance that provided the following principles concerning spousal maintenance:
It is generally right and fair that relationship-generated needs should be met if resources permit.
The term ‘reasonable requirements’ is now not approved. The term ‘needs’ (generously interpreted) has gained acceptance.
Need will be measured by assessing the standard of living during the relationship – generally, the longer the relationship’s duration, the more important this factor will be.
A party may be expected to suffer some reduction in their standard of living regarding the overall objective of a transition to independence.
The court will assess the needs of both parties.
Maintenance can be a complicated issue. The best advice is to seek out family law services early so that you can control your case thoroughly and properly before any financial decisions are made.
How long does spousal maintenance last?
The court can order spousal maintenance to continue for a specific term, e.g. five years, ten years, or for instance, until the children have concluded their secondary education.
Alternatively, in appropriate cases, the courts can order what is effectively an indefinite spousal maintenance order (a joint lives maintenance order) which would only come to an end upon your remarriage, death, or further order of the court.
The court is obliged to consider terminating the financial obligations between you and your husband “as soon after the [divorce] as the court considers just and reasonable”.
However, the court is likely to order ongoing spousal maintenance if there is a genuine income need.
How to claim spousal maintenance
It will be necessary to particularise your specific income needs in a detailed schedule. The court will want to ensure that you are maximising your earning capacity.
Your care of the children will be a relevant factor to consider here. The court will also consider whether your husband can afford to meet any shortfall between your needs and earning capacity.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance is variable. Either party can apply to the court for an upwards or downwards variation, subject to a specific change in circumstances.
For example, if your husband were to either have or come into significant capital, the court can capitalise spousal maintenance so that you receive an upfront lump-sum payment instead of ongoing spousal maintenance.
Does a stay-at-home mum get the house in a divorce?
The first thing you need to know is that you likely have ‘home rights’ until any permanent order is made to transfer or divide the home between you.
This means that you have the right to stay in or return to the family home as you please. Talk to a divorce lawyer if you aren’t sure of your rights.
As the divorcing couple, if able to, you can choose what to do with the family home and have several options.
You could move out separately and sell the house, dividing the proceeds of the sale between you; you could arrange for one partner to buy the other out; you could keep the home and not change who owns it; or, you could transfer a proportion of the property value between you as part of a wider settlement.
It’s far more common for the couple to agree than for the court to decide. However, there are several options available to the court concerning your family home:
A ‘Mesher’ order can defer the sale of the home until a certain point, e.g. when the youngest child turns 18.
A ‘Martin’ order defers sale and gives one person an entitlement to live in the home either for life or until they get remarried. This option is more common for couples that don’t have children.
All in all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that either couples or courts take on the family home issue.
Contact your local family law solicitors: Stowe
If you’re considering a separation or divorce, please seek legal advice or get in touch here. The best divorce advice is to seek out a divorce solicitor early before you make any decisions.
As a specialist family law firm, our lawyers have helped many people, so you can be assured that you will receive the support and advice that you need.
Interested? Call us today through 0330 056 3171, fill in our online contact form, or learn more about Stowe today.
I contacted Stowe Family Law , the Beverley office, after searching the internet for a local company with good reviews. Initial contact was very professional, efficient and the advice provided was excellent. I felt very comfortable discussing personal matters with the team and Clare Ward (partner) was excellent, her communication with the other party was assertive and very professional on every level.
I would highly recommend Clare and her team, despite the challenges of the coronavirus their service and communication was faultless. Thank you for the hard work and dedication to fight my corner!
Client: Ms J
Divorces can be particularly unpleasant and after 30 years I really hadn't seen it coming. This was emotionally a very difficult time for me. It was my fortune to find Theo Hoppen of Stowe Family Law of Harrogate. Thanks to the advice and guidance that Theo provided me, it enabled me to keep going when at times I wanted to throw the towel in. Theo is a true expert in his field, his legal advice was always spot on and often a tremendous source of comfort particularly when I was most down. Theo handled my case with sensitivity and utmost professionalism and enabled me to look past the raw emotion as he navigated me through an unpleasant divorce. Theo provided a service that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Client: Mr L
For 18 months of my divorce process I had been rubbing along with a law firm that was painfully slow, unresponsive, I was being fobbed off with excruciating excuses for shoddy practice. It seemed like I was getting nowhere whilst my husband was treating me appallingly. I approached Kate Rayner at Stowe Family Law, who quietly listened to my completely stressed ramblings of getting nowhere with my divorce from my coercively controlling, emotionally abusive husband. Her response was a resounding and very definite,Yes! Of course we can help! From then on I was on a fast-moving, action-packed journey.
Kate quickly identified this as a ‘needs’ case, she organised and approved a legal loan for me and the first FDR appointment was just 4 weeks later!
Kate Recruited Simon Rowbotham as Counsel with experience of coercively abusive divorces; they become my phenomenal team and went on to represent me on four further hearings throughout the following year. Kate is an ‘action’ person, a stickler for precision, accuracy and efficiency. I had to step up too, Kate is a taskmaster(in a good way), information needed from me had to be in, up to scratch and on time!
Kate, Simon and I worked as a team, I was in no doubt that they genuinely cared about my future and were striving for my best interest at all times. They manoeuvred around Lockdown in unprecedented times.
My Team secured a Just and Victorious conclusion for me in December 2020. I have and will continue to recommend Kate Rayner to anyone needing a divorce lawyer and Simon Rowbotham as Counsel.
Thanks again to you both.
Client: Ms F
After a very complicated multi jurisdiction divorce that had been running for 3 years I switched to SFL. I had an initial meeting with Jemma Slavin and was filled with confidence in her ability and knowledge immediately. Jemma was extremely thorough in bringing matters to a conclusion using all tools at her disposal. I was kept fully informed as well as being asked for my own opinion on each course of action taken along the way. From my own experience I can only say that I would recommend both Jemma and SFL in dealing with anything other than straight forward family law. Finally a huge thank you Jemma for expeditiously bringing matters to a successful conclusion.
Client: Mr M
A big thank you to you and your staff for your phenomenal efforts in helping me fight my demons. Thank you for holding my hand when all I felt was despair, for always offering clear options on the legal recourse available to me, for being so fastidious with detail, for responding to all my emails immediately so I never had to wait. Thank you for bearing with my 10 emails when two would have been enough, and for never judging me. Most of all thank you for believing that it would all be over, and for assuring me that it would when I couldn't see it. I am so glad I had you, and the barristers you recommended, fighting in my corner. I really had the best team, and I learned so much from you.
Client: Mrs S
Thanks for all your help, patience and support in what, as I predicted, would be a long drawn out and over complicated matter even though it looked relatively straightforward on paper. And for trusting my approach which I realise was not always the most typical of ex wives. If anything I hope it provided some relevant and interesting experience for you too. I wish you all the success as your career develops. You have a lovely manner, so important in family law....which is such an emotional and personal aspect of the law.
Client: Mrs K
My thanks to you for building such a robust argument. We are very grateful for this result.
Client: Mr C
I will be forever grateful for what Jemma Slavin and her team in Bristol have done for me and my children. Jemma is a top-class Lawyer that really knows her stuff. She is professional, personable, quick to respond and above all always knew what the right legal advice was, and she was always 1 step ahead of my husband’s Lawyer. It is thanks to her legal advice and persistence that gave me and my children a better outcome then I could ever have imagined. But most importantly my children can now continue their life growing up with the right support and living in the area familiar to them and close to their school and friends. Could not recommend Stowe enough, they are amazing!