One of the commonest questions we are asked by clients seeking advice in Family Law is “where do I stand financially?”
We will explore the possibility of agreement. However the Court has wide-reaching powers to make Orders for financial provision. The Court has the power to make a range of Orders including:-
1) Orders between spouses.
a) Maintenance Pending Suit
Maintenance pending suit is maintenance (ie, regular periodical payments) paid by one spouse to the other between the date of separation and the date of the divorce. If maintenance pending suit is necessary it is generally replaced by periodical payments after the divorce. Applications for maintenance pending suit are assess by the Court on a “broad brush” approach.
b) Periodical Payments
Periodical payments is the name given to continuing regular maintenance from the date of the divorce for however long the Court decides it is necessary. Either party for a marriage can apply for periodical payments to be made by the other. How long the periodical payments last depends on all the circumstances. For example, if a young couple divorce after a short marriage and with no children and both are equally able to earn their own living, periodical payments may be for a limited period of time if indeed they are ordered at all. After a long marriage where a husband is in permanent well paid employment and a wife may have given up her career to look after the children, the periodical payments may be more significant and longer or even open-ended.
c) Secured Provision Order
In some cases there may be nervousness as to whether a person is actually going to pay maintenance payments, periodical payments of any other sums that are ordered to be paid by the Court. In these circumstances it is possible to “secure” the payment against an asset. This might arise where a husband lives overseas but has property in the UK. Such Orders are very rare but we can advise you about this.
d) A Lump Sum Order
A lump sum order is an order requiring one party to the marriage to pay a lump sum to the other. This might be a means of dividing savings held by one spouse. On other occasions perhaps one party will continue to live in the former matrimonial home and that party would normally make a “lump sum” payment to the other by way of compensation.
e) Property Adjustment Order
A property adjustment order is an order which adjusts shares in property. Very often when a couple are divorced the largest asset is the family home which is usually in joint names. The Court has power to alter the share in the family home, make orders for immediate sale or to delay the sale until any children have left home or until circumstances change.