In many financial orders following divorce there is provision for one spouse to pay spousal maintenance to the other. This can be for a short period of time, a fixed term or longer period if the financial independence of a spouse is difficult.

Often a thorny issue with a maintenance order is how and when it may change. Negotiations revolve around what factors may lead to the maintenance being reviewed and if any automatic changes will happen. The end of the maintenance is often set at a particular date, remarriage, cohabitation or a child finishing education.

In the period the maintenance is paid it is always possible for either the payer or recipient to seek to increase or decrease the sum being paid if they can show the affordability or need for the maintenance has changed.

During the negotiations about maintenance, if and how there will be automatic reviews is also decided. There are various mechanisms for review including using change in CPI or RPI, by review of respective incomes or change in the payers gross income. This is often a decision that is difficult as no one can predict which calculations will work out best for them in the future. Interestingly the recent inflation data suggests income is currently growing at a faster rate than the CPI. If this will continue to be the case, only time will tell.

Child Maintenance reviews are, in the most part, decided by the Child Maintenance Service, based on changes in the non-resident parent’s gross income, changes in the number of nights their children stay with them or a change in the number of children living with them.

If you have any queries about maintenance or variation and review of maintenance please do not hesitate to contact me.