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 received a professional service from David Milburn, my Divorce solicitor, throughout the two years we worked together to reach a settlement. Divorce is a tricky time and he dealt with my situation with empathy and was objective in the handling of my case. We had a good rapport and I was able to speak honestly about my financial needs. His support staff, Jo Childs, was also extremely helpful at keeping me in the picture. I can recommend Stowe to anyone in my situation.
Client: Ms H
Mark Christie recently acted on my behalf for my extremely messy divorce. This was an incredibly difficult and stressful time and thanks to Mark and his wonderful PA Michelle we were successful in winning my case. I am now fully back on the road to recovery and getting on with my life. After initially going to a different firm for a consultation prior to Stowe Family Law there was simply no comparison. The level of detail and professionalism that Mark brought to the table would be impossible to beat and it was the best decision I ever made to hire Mark. He will be 100% committed to your case and will try his very best for you. I have recommended Mark to many people and will continue to do so as having the right person on your side during this horrific period of time is critical.
Client: Mrs M
Stowe Family Law LLP has represented me in regards of my matrimonial matters for the last 8 years. David Milburn, managing partner has worked directly on my case. I would highly recommend Stowe and David to anyone needing dedicated, knowledgable and extremely efficient support with family law matters.
Client: Mr C
I contacted Stowe Family Law towards the end of a very complicated divorce, owing to a stressful and difficult unforeseen, 11th hour situation. The way that James Scarborough dealt with my case and was confident to take it on board despite not having been involved throughout the whole process was incredibly reassuring. Expected costs were explained at the outset, and for me, the stress of a complicated situation was reduced enormously owing to James’s clear communication and positive approach. Based on my dealings with Stowe Family Law, I can recommend this firm without hesitation.
Client: Mrs R
I would like to thank you for all your support through what has been a traumatic time ( in more ways than one ). I feel that the outcome was as good as could be achieved in the circumstances, and that you were informative, courteous and efficient throughout the whole process. If I am unfortunate enough to require future representation, I would certainly return to you.
Client: Mr P
I would like to send thanks to all at Stowe Family Law, especially Rachel Joyce who was professional and compassionate throughout. She spoke to me on a level I could understand during a case where I struggled with the terms and made the whole process so much easier. Having her there with me was very comforting. Thank you for giving me the extra few weeks to pay each bill as well! The flexibility was certainly needed during this time. I will certainly recommend your company to others should they find themselves in similar circumstances.
Client: Ms J
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
I just want to say thank you so much for helping me get through this very difficult time of my life. You help me deal with everything that was thrown at me, which was a lot, and we managed to get to the end fairly unscathed. I admit there were times when I was derailed, but you always quickly got me back on track. I would happily recommend you to anyone who is about to go through or is currently going through a divorce.