Interim maintenance when divorce proceedings have started.
Where no adequate financial provision is made for a spouse after separation, he or she can apply to the court for a share of their higher-earning spouse’s income as soon as divorce proceedings are underway.
This ‘maintenance’ payment in the interim can ease the claimant’s finances until financial matters are fully resolved through the divorce settlement.
Interim maintenance can include the following:
Maintenance pending suit/interim maintenance: This is a monthly sum intended to top up the claimants’ own sources of income to help meet essential living costs – for example, caring for children – but not for luxury items such as holidays. This also helps to avoid potential damage to the claimant’s credit rating, which can adversely affect the settlement options available through the divorce.
A legal services order: This orders a spouse to provide a monthly or lump sum to cover the other’s legal fees. The court will use this where there is no other source of funding available for legal fees (and the claimant cannot secure a litigation loan), thereby putting spouses on an equal footing in terms of their ability to fund independent legal advice.
Seek friendly expert advice early on interim maintenance
These are specialist claims, and applications to the court for them must be justified. If not properly considered, the court may order the losing party to pay their spouse’s legal fees, so it’s wise to seek legal guidance early for interim maintenance matters.