Personal

Matters

Maintenance Payments

However you and your former partner decide to arrange your finances upon divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation, the resulting settlement must be fair to everyone involved. Maintenance payments can help you maintain a suitable standard of living for both you and your children. Our family law solicitors can help you secure the arrangement you need to confidently move on with your life.

Working out finances upon relationship breakdown is often where disagreements arise between couples. Without the right legal advice, even the most amicable of separations can become combative.

That is where our divorce lawyers come in. We specialise in helping individuals and families find constructive solutions to challenging issues. We understand the mental strain that going through a separation can have on a person. You are preparing to enter a new phase of your life and it is common to have concerns about financially supporting yourself and providing your children with the best life possible.

Our lawyers are family law experts. Our team is led by Tim Flower who has a wealth of experience in this area and is a Law Society Family Law Advanced Accredited specialist. We are also members of Resolution for our skills in helping individuals and families find constructive solutions to family law issues without resorting to stressful court proceedings.

For further information or to set up a confidential initial consultation with a member of our team, give us a call or email office@prestonredman.co.uk. Our clients come to us from across Bournemouth, Poole and the wider Dorset area for our expertise and friendly, personal approach.

What our dissolution and divorce solicitors in Bournemouth can do for you

We can help you secure a Child Maintenance Arrangement and/or a Spousal Maintenance Arrangement upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

As dedicated members of Resolution, we will help you find a positive solution out of court wherever possible, saving you time, costs and stress.

Our team also includes qualified mediator, Mark Hensleigh who can help you use mediation to come to an agreement. Mediation involves attending a series of informal meetings with your former partner to discuss maintenance (usually along with other financial and child-related matters) under the supervision of a mediator who will guide your discussions and defuse any conflict. The mediator will not take sides or make a judgment, so mediation is not like attending court – any agreement you make will be entirely down to you.

We can help you make any out-of-court agreement legally binding by applying to court for a Consent Order. We have decades of experience making these sorts of applications so there is very little chance you will need to attend court.

In the event that you and your partner cannot come to a voluntary agreement, we will provide practical advice on your options, including:

  • Applying to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)
  • Applying for a court order
  • Responding to any applications made by your former partner

We can also handle any court proceedings on your behalf, working swiftly and tirelessly to obtain a positive result.

What are maintenance payments?

Maintenance payments are regular amounts of money paid from one partner to the other after they separate or get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Often, the couple agrees maintenance between themselves during the separation. However, it can also be worked out by a third party such as the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) or a family court. There are two types of maintenance:

  • Child maintenance – where one parents pays for some of their child’s living expenses, usually where the child lives mainly with their other parent
  • Spousal maintenance – to help the financially ‘weaker’ former partner maintain a decent standard of living after the separation

Maintenance payments can be a great way to help couples separate without forcing one party into a financially worse off position. Families come in all shapes and sizes nowadays and while it is much more common for both parties to work (even if they have children), one party is usually financially ‘weaker’ than the other. For example, because:

  • They gave up work temporarily or permanently to raise the children
  • They have a lower future earning capacity due to time taken off work to look after the children and/or run the household
  • The children now live with them most of the time meaning they have to pay for the majority of the children’s living expenses (e.g. clothes, food, school supplies)
  • They did not pursue their career as vigorously as their partner so they could have more flexibility to run the household
  • They supported their partner’s career above their own, e.g. by leaving their high paying career to move to a new area for their partner’s work

Child Maintenance (Child Support)

After you and your partner break up, the parent who does not have day-to-day care of the children may have to pay some money to the ‘resident’ parent to cover some of the children’s everyday living expenses. This is called child maintenance or child support.

There are three ways we can help you sort out child maintenance with your former partner:

A family-based child maintenance arrangement

This is when you and your former partner agree the amount of child maintenance payments between yourselves with the assistance of your family law solicitors or a qualified mediator.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If you and your partner cannot agree between yourselves or they stop paying, you can apply to the CMS to calculate payments on your behalf. The CMS applies a set formula (using factors such as the paying parent’s income and the number of children you have) to work out how much the paying parent should contribute.

The CMS can also collect payments on your behalf and take legal action against the paying parent if they fail to pay.

Child Maintenance Orders

These are very rare. You can usually only apply for a court order if you cannot use the CMS. For example, because:

  • Your former partner lives overseas
  • Your former partner has a very high income
  • Your child has additional needs (such as a disability) that requires higher payments than the CMS will calculate

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance payments should be worked out with your other financial matters (such as how money and property should be divided) alongside the main divorce or dissolution proceedings.

Spousal maintenance is payments made from one partner to the other (usually monthly) for a defined period or indefinitely. There is often a defined period so that the spousal maintenance will end in a number of circumstances such as if:

  • The party receiving the payments gets remarried or enters into a new civil partnership
  • Either party dies
  • A court orders that the agreement should end or be changed

Spousal maintenance will not automatically end if the paying party gets remarried or enters into a new civil partnership.

Get in touch with our civil partnership dissolution and divorce solicitors in Bournemouth

For further information or to set up a confidential initial consultation with a member of our team, give us a call or email office@prestonredman.co.uk. Our clients come to us from across Bournemouth, Poole and the wider Dorset area for our expertise and friendly, personal approach.