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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.

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Maintenance pending suit

  • D L
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24 Jul 09 #133818 by D L
Topic started by D L
What is it?

It is periodical payments (usually payable monthly) for a limited period of time while the overall finances are resolved between the parties. Once the finances are resolved MPS then ends and either no order is made for periodical payments due to the capital division, or spousal maintenance is ordered.

Who can apply?

The lower earning party to the marriage.

How do you apply?

By way of a Form A. The Form A can be filed on the same day as the divorce petition, but there must be a divorce petition filed to apply. If you haven’t filed for ancillary relief you may as well apply for that at the same time to save a further application fee.

You will get a court date for the MPS hearing fairly quickly. Both parties have to file a sworn statement of their income and out goings so the court can assess if MPS should be paid.

What is it for?

To meet the short term financial needs of the applicant while the wider finances are resolved.

How does the court decide to make an order?

It simply looks at the income of the receiver and determines if there is a need. If there is, MPS is likely to be paid as a priority over any other outgoings of the payer, especially if there are children and there are housing costs to be paid. It is the rare case when it is not ordered, and only usually when the potential payer is on a low income. The receiver will be expected to have applied for any benefits they are entitled to if not working, and for tax credits if they are.

Should there be an order at all?

In many cases yes, and the court will err on the side of caution of making an order rather than not, as it is a time limited order in any event. The court is very liberal on MPS applications, especially when there are children and the housing costs of the parent with care needs to be met.

How much?

As with spousal maintenance there is no formula. The basic calculation is the receiver’s outgoings minus any income he or she receives. If there is a gap there is a need, and that forms the baseline figure. Then one looks to the resources of the payer, and if there is an ability to pay that baseline figure. If so, it is awarded. However, that is not the end of the calculation. One then looks at the lifestyle the parties enjoyed during the marriage. If the payer can afford to pay more so that the receiver can continue to enjoy a similar level of lifestyle, then that will be so. The court adopts a very liberal approach to MPS, particularly as it does not have to balance the calculation against the wider capital division as that comes later.

How long for?

The usual duration is until further order. In effect it is usually until the financial matters have reached a conclusion, when the MPS will become spousal maintenance or be dismissed.

Are there any tax implications?

Very simply, no. The receiver does not pay tax on spousal maintenance received. Until 2000, tax relief was available to the payer, however, this has now been abolished.


You can apply to vary an order for MPS, however, more often than not it is more beneficial to concentrate on settling the overall finances than varying an order which is effectively time limited.

Again, you can apply to appeal an order for MPS, however, given the time it takes and the costs involved, it is again better to focus on resolving the overall finances than appealing a time limited order.

MPS and benefits

Interim maintenance does not affect working tax credit. It does however affect income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit, so one has to consider the wider implications of maintenance on the whole income of the receiver.

  • Tets
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27 Jul 09 #134388 by Tets
Reply from Tets
Thanks DL

  • cat90
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31 Jul 09 #135259 by cat90
Reply from cat90
Thank you DivorceLawyer for your post. I've postponed the need to fill form A and struggled for a while (hoping my huband will come to his senses and do the right thing for our children and I but he didn't) but after ready your post I will be filling Form A next Wednesday when I meet with my solicitor. Will let you know of the court outcome.

Take care

  • zephi1
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31 Jul 09 #135266 by zephi1
Reply from zephi1
thanks for this
I started the separation course a short time ago! But catching on quickly my wife earns more than I and I know this is what her worry is especially as she knows that I also have looked after the chidlren and will probabbly continue in that vein folowing the divorce. She will be most unpleased!

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02 Oct 09 #151575 by cat90
Reply from cat90
Hi, quick update. I filled for MPS and the hearing is next week. I've also contacted the CSA following 15 months on being very reasonable and give time to my ex husband to come to his senses and do the right thing for our children but he didn't. The CSA were very helpful in speeding up the application. When I told my ex that the CSA will be contacting him soon and I will give them all the evidence about his true income he then within few days doubled the amount of child maintenance. I'm now waiting for his offer for MPS and legal fees payment. What I would like to know is the following. My ex lied on his form E about his true income but now he made an offer with no "Without Prejudice". Will the judge do anything about his lies? Can I ask the judge to get that amount backed it to when he left the house?

Thank you again for your help and this website is fantastic help.

  • mgs
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11 May 11 #267410 by mgs
Reply from mgs
my wife and i agreed to divorce and all seems amicable until after the divorce papers were filed.

following this i was notified that she filed a a claim for maintenance pending suit.

yesterday was the second and final hearing and the court had ordered me to pay her on a monthly basis a maintenance fee equivalent to 30% of my total earnings.

we have matrimonial debts that includes bank mortgages and credit cards that, without a miss, i have been paying since separation in 2007. all these were not considered by the court.

as i am not in the position to pay what the court has ordered, can you please advice what are my options?

  • dillydally
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15 Aug 12 #349710 by dillydally
Reply from dillydally
Somebody please help me!

I have a decent income - £2500 per month. However, my wife deserted the home, and fabricated a document of lies about me, and has no interest in working at all. The lies were untrue, and I now look after our daughter myself, with no contact with the mother between mother and daughter. I am forced to live with my parents even though I want to live with my daughter in our own house.

I went to one of these hearings, and the court awarded my wife 50% of my salary, which has left me short of money every month, I have built up £5000 in debts in six months, and I am unable to pay my daughters school fees.

What can I do??? I am desperate.

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