Q & A: Financial contributions from an ex-partner during divorce

June 28, 2017

With many of our clients, we find that we are asked the same questions time and time again regarding the financial responsibilities during divorce proceedings. One of the more common questions is in regards to financial contributions to mortgage payments, household bills and being left struggling financially.

What can you do?

This is a common scenario when spouses separate particularly when one spouse has little to no income.  We always attempt to be reasonable and negotiate a compromise but when this is not possible and one spouse continues to struggle financially, that spouse may make an Application to the Court for financial relief.

What Application can I make to the Court?         

An Application may be made to the Court for Maintenance Pending Suit, under s22 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. A Court may order your spouse to pay maintenance to you  “pending suit” ie. until Decree Absolute, when the marriage is brought to a legal end.   

A Court may order your spouse to pay maintenance in such sum as “the Court thinks reasonable” and a Court has discretion to backdate payments to the date of your Application. To assist the Court, it is important that you provide a full budget disclosing your own income with evidence in support such as your payslips and a full breakdown of what you reasonably require on a monthly basis, again with evidence in support. 

Will the Court make an Order that my spouse pays my legal costs if I have to make an Application?

The general rule is that there will be a no order as to costs and you would pay your own costs.  A Costs Order will only be made if justified for example, by your spouse’s conduct, if they have not complied with the Family Procedure Rules, have not made attempts to settle or have conducted themselves in such a manner which the Court considers relevant.        

We have significant experience in making Maintenance Pending suit Applications and also responding to such Applications.  Our recent successes have resulted in significant Costs Orders being made against spouses who have made Applications which the Court has dismissed.  Please contact our Family Law team for further information. Call our team on 0117 929 0451 or email.

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Q & A: Financial contributions from an ex-partner during divorce

Kerry Graham

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