Rising household bills: is interim maintenance a viable option?

When couples separate, it is common for one party to leave the family home and move to an alternative property. Although this can ease any emotional pressure the parties may face, it often results in significant additional financial pressures.

With headlines suggesting a long and cold winter ahead due to soaring gas prices, the situation is likely to become more challenging over the next few months as household bills rise. That is particularly the case for the financially weaker party, who may struggle to pay their bills without additional financial support from their spouse.

The financial support available depends entirely on the individual circumstances of the case, including at what stage the proceedings are at.

Prior to a divorce being granted, it may be appropriate for the financially weaker party to receive a form of interim maintenance, referred to as maintenance pending suit (MPS). A MPS order will place an obligation on one party to make payments to the other, until the divorce is finalised, or a further order is made.

MPS should be considered where one party cannot meet their reasonable monthly outgoings and the other spouse has surplus money available after paying for their own reasonable outgoings.

A decision whether to apply for MPS requires careful consideration. Before any decisions are made, we would strongly advise you to speak to an experienced family lawyer.

Whatever your circumstances may be, our solicitors are highly experienced in all areas of matrimonial finance and will be able to advise you as to whether MPS is likely to be appropriate and what your options are.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact our office on 02920 197 203.