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Spousal Maintenance

It is possible to obtain a Court Order for spousal maintenance, both before the divorce is finalised and in the Court Order finalising the divorce.

Generally, the Courts rely on the “clean break” principle when granting a divorce order, wherein the parties will no longer be financially dependent on one another.  The Court takes various factors into account when deciding whether to grant spousal maintenance or not, and if so, the amount to be paid and the period over which it is to be paid. The Court therefore, has to consider the circumstances of the marriage and the parties, relating to:

  • the existing or prospective means of the parties;
  • their respective earning capacities;
  • their financial needs and obligations;
  • their ages;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the standard of living during the marriage;
  • the conduct of the parties insofar as it is relevant to the breakdown of the marriage; and
  • any other relevant factors: best interests of the children, childcare responsibilities of the dependent spouse, rate of inflation, the way in which the spouses conducted their financial position.

The court has a wide discretion when considering an order for spousal maintenance and therefore, there is no automatic right to receive maintenance on divorce, even where an agreement has been entered into.

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