If you are in a civil partnership or a marriage, you may apply for a Financial Order to be made by the courts if your relationship breaks down.
The English courts have power under ss22 to 24B of the MCA 1973 to make financial orders to a spouse for:
- Income orders
- Capital orders
Income orders are for the provision by one spouse to the other for maintenance pending suit, periodical payments or secured periodical payments. Payments can also be made to the child(ren) of the family.
The court can order for one party to pay the other party maintenance whilst the proceedings for divorce are ongoing. As an interim measure, maintenance is paid at a lower rate than it might be in the long term. Interim maintenance is intended to cover the basic costs, excluding long-term and capital expenses.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) will usually be responsible for child maintenance applications as opposed to the courts. The paying parent might be responsible for maintenance beyond the child reaching the age of 18 in certain circumstances.
You can find an online calculator at www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance that will help you to calculate the minimum sum of maintenance that should be paid. Where a parent lives abroad, the application might need to be made or enforced via REMO or the courts and you should contact a solicitor to discuss this.
The Court may make orders in respect of children in the following additional circumstances:
(a) where the child(ren) suffer(s) from a disability;
(b) where the child(ren) are in full-time education or training;
(c) where the paying parent has been assessed to pay the maximum sum by the CMS, the court has the jurisdiction to make a ‘top up’ order;
(d) where either parent or the child resides overseas.
Capital orders are flexible and cover lump sum orders, property adjustment orders (for property to be held on trust or to be transferred for example), orders for sale of property, pension sharing orders or pension sharing compensation orders.
A spouse may apply for any or all of these orders on or after filing the divorce petition. We can you advise on your entitlement to each of these financial remedies and the chances of success in making such an application.
You can read more about filing for divorce in my article here: https://www.bandmlaw.co.uk/site/blog/bandm-blog/how-to-get-a-divorce-in-england-and-wales