Maintenance Pending Suit – What Is It And How Can It Help Me?
Maintenance pending suit is when your ex-husband or wife provides you with financial support, while the terms of your divorce are being finalised. This is ordered by the Court.
Maintenance pending suit will be extremely helpful if the breakdown of your relationship has put you in a difficult financial position, perhaps because you ordinarily rely on your spouse’s income, or you have been left to cover the household costs.
What is maintenance pending suit?
Maintenance pending suit (MPS) is defined as “financial support received from your spouse to meet your interim needs”.
The Court recognises that following a separation, one party may be left in financial difficulty. It is not unusual for one person to be financially weaker than the other. This can cause problems – especially if there is a delay in negotiating the divorce settlement.
Because of this, the law requires that the financially stronger party continues to provide financial support, until the divorce is finalised. This financial support can begin from the date of your divorce petition and can last until the Decree Absolute is issued.
What will the Court consider?
If you would like to receive maintenance pending suit, then an application must be made to the Court. The Court will consider:
- The reasonable needs of the parties;
- The income/outgoings of each party;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The financial resources of each party.
The Court will assess both parties true positions on the evidence presented, and make a decision upon what each party requires in order to meet their realistic and reasonable needs.
Can maintenance be backdated?
If the Court orders that MPS should be paid, then the payments can be backdated to the date of your initial petition for divorce, nullity or judicial separation.
Am I responsible for my costs?
The general rule in family proceedings is that each party pays their own costs, however that does not apply within MPS proceedings. If your application is successful, the Court may order your spouse to pay all or part of your legal costs.
Are payments made directly?
Yes, if the Court orders that you should receive MPS, then payments will be made directly to you. Payments cannot be made to third parties, such as a mortgage lender. However, the Court can ask you to sign an undertaking. This requires that you use the funds for their intended purpose.
Speak to our family law solicitors
It is important to get advice at the earliest opportunity, should you need financial assistance from your spouse. Please contact one of our family law specialists for a free no-obligation initial appointment.