Going through a divorce is a difficult time even in the most amicable of circumstances. A divorce solicitor will be able to assist you, ensuring all aspects of your divorce are above board and that you have settled everything you need to before parting ways for good. Especially if there are children involved in your relationship, but not solely if that’s the case, your financial agreements and maintenance issues must be discussed and agreed upon so all parties are clear on their responsibilities.
Depending on a number of circumstances a former spouse is entitled to certain types of financial spousal maintenance. The length of the marriage is an important factor, as a short marriage without children should be easy enough to separate with both parties maintaining what they brought into the relationship.
Other factors include the needs of each and their ability to earn an income, the standard of living for each before the marriage, any special circumstances such as disability for either or both parties, the contributions both have made to the marriage, in terms of looking after the family home and bringing up children.
It is possible to agree a clean break settlement, where a lump sum of cash can be agreed to be paid or a transfer of assets between partners and no further maintenance payments required. If there are children involved you cannot make a clean break of financial maintenance.
How to Maintain Payments When a Former Spouse Passes Away
If your former partner dies you might be worried that the maintenance payments you have been receiving will disappear. It is wise to take out maintenance insurance to cover these payments and in the event that your former spouse is unable to make payments after an employment issue during their lifetime.
How to Cope When Maintenance Payments Stop
In some cases your former partner may stop paying maintenance and refuse to restart payments. In these cases you can apply to the court for an order requiring your spouse to enforce payments. The court has the power to issue an attachment of earnings so their employer automatically pays you your maintenance. With children involved you should contact the Child Maintenance Service.
When a Former Spouse Remarries
If you or your former spouse remarry, or move in with a new partner, you may lose the legal right to make any financial claims against them. If you are paying maintenance to your former spouse (aside from child maintenance payments) these will cease if they have remarried.
If your former spouse sees an improvement in their financial position you can apply to the court to reduce the amount you are paying, or to cease completely the payments.
Where children are involved their financial support is a priority for the court. Child maintenance applies to children under the age of 16, children aged 20 or under and in full-time education, or aged 20 or under where the parent is still in receipt of child benefit. If private agreement cannot be made the Child Maintenance Service can help arrange payments.
If you are not the biological parent of a child you have been making financial payments for as part of your relationship, you might have financial obligations after you split, where maintenance is still required to be paid for the upbringing of your stepchildren, depending on the ability of the child’s natural parents to provide support. It is always the best route to take advice and guidance from family law solicitors who can help you with whichever situation you find yourself in.