Q. My marriage has broken down and I want to separate from my husband but I have no income of my own, therefore, if I ask him to leave I will have no money, what can I do?
A. ‘Spousal Maintenance' (also referred to as ‘Periodical Payments’) refer to payments made periodically (ie. every week or every month) by one spouse to the other, primarily towards the receiving spouse’s living costs, and they are extremely common. An agreement as to the ‘interim’ sum to be paid by one spouse to the other (pending a more permanent arrangement) can usually be reached through correspondence however where necessary the Court can make an Order.
Such Orders are made within Divorce and connected Financial Order proceedings and can even include an amount in respect of legal fees if the receiving spouse can demonstrate that they have no other way of funding their case. If a spouse is not ready to issue Divorce proceedings but requires financial support from the other spouse, then the Court can Order financial provision to be paid by one to the other if the Court is satisfied that the paying spouse has failed to provide reasonable maintenance for the receiving spouse.
These remedies are available regardless of whether or not there are children of the marriage, and are in addition to payments which a parent who has the care of a child is entitled to receive from the other parent under the Child Support Act.
I would suggest that you consult a Solicitor specialising in Matrimonial Law as yours is a very common predicament and your Solicitor will be experienced in advising people in your position. Your appointment will be entirely confidential.
Chris Brown, Solicitor
*This article was previously published in the Stamford Mercury