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Divorce & Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is not the same as child maintenance, as child maintenance is obligatory, whereas spousal maintenance is discretionary.

Spousal maintenance arises when one party’s income or assets are insufficient to meet their day-to-day needs, e.g., they have a much lower income than the other or have not worked for some or all of the relationship period. Spousal maintenance is usually paid monthly and continues either for a defined period of years or occasionally for the remainder of the parties’ life, known as a “joint lives order”. The question of how much spousal maintenance should be paid and for how long will vary from case to case.

Child maintenance, on the other hand, has a prescribed formula to determine how much is payable and can be worked out using the Child Maintenance Service (“CMS”) calculator, which considers several factors, including the paying parent’s income, the number of children living with the paying parent, how many children are involved, and how often the children spend overnight with the paying parent. Both spousal maintenance and child maintenance could be payable at the same time and are sometimes referred to collectively as “global mainte.

Contact Mark Thomson on email: or phone: 0333 070 5651 


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