My husband has agreed to pay me maintenance but is saying that he may also put on the divorce petition that he be entitled to claim maintenance from me, should the need arise in the future (eg through unemployment). Is this correct? Perhaps it is a two way thing?
As far as we are aware - this is extremely unlikely to happen.
At some point you will agree a Consent Order or if it proceeds to final hearing, have a court order.
This order will specifiy who pays maintenance based on today's circumstances. i.e. if you are the one with lower (or zero) income now and the generally lower earning capacity then any award for apousal maintenance will be for him to pay you.
It may be for a set time limit (or for life), and it may (or may not) include clauses about whether you can apply to extend that maintenance.
But maintenance is basically a 1 way street.
If he later fell on hard times then he could apply to have the maintenance stopped - but not for a reversal so that you have to pay him.
Thanks for that. With that in mind, can you tell me how long I will get maintenance for? Is it a set thing or until I get married again or do I just have to make an arrangement/agreement with my husband before we file?
Basically the idea is that you get maintenance until you are able to be financially self supporting.
If you are a housewife with low salary prospects and you have been married to a wealthy high earning man then he may have to pay maintenance for life as you will likely never be able to earn enough to life something equating to the lifestyle you would have enjoyed during the marriage.
If you have low salary prospects now but with three years training could expect to get a better job and be self sufficient then you may only get maintenance for three years.
The ages of the kids (if any) come into it as well. A common debate in a court is at what age the wife can move from part time work to full time work. Is it when the kids start school. Or when they start secondary school, or not until they have left home.
If you are ill or disabled in someway then your needs are likely to be ongoing and so maintenance is likely to be paid for a long period - possibly life.