What are spousal periodical payments also known as spousal maintenance?
A spousal periodical payments order is a continuing obligation for one party to pay the other a weekly or monthly sum. For more information on spousal maintenance generally, please read our article what is a spousal maintenance order.
Does inflation and the increase in the cost of living mean that my spousal maintenance payments will change?
You will need to check whether your order provides for the maintenance to be varied in line with either CPI or RPI or otherwise in relation to a change in your income. If so, the method of increase will already be stipulated in the order and you should adjust the maintenance amount accordingly so as not to be in breach of the order. If you fail to abide by the order, there could be a potential claim for arrears (although usually limited to 12 months).
What if spousal maintenance amount isn’t affordable anymore (payer) or doesn’t meet needs anymore (receiver)?
Unless a variation can be agreed between the parties, it may be the case that you need to apply to the court for the order to be varied. The court would consider all the circumstances of your particular case when deciding whether to use its discretion to vary the order. Examples that might give rise to an application to vary spousal maintenance include:
- Your income as the payer has decreased
- The income of the receiver has increased
- Your financial needs as the receiver can no longer be met by the spousal maintenance order
- A clean break is now attainable terminating spousal periodical payments
- A lump sum can be paid to replace spousal periodical payments
Failing to abide by a spousal maintenance order could lead to enforcement action. Contact our Family team now for more information on how we can help.
If you would like more information on Spousal Periodic Payments, contact Madia Aslam from the Family Team for more advice.