I have two Kids aged 14 and 12. My wife's solicitor is asking for spousal maintenance until she is 60 which is 15 years from now. I was informed by my solicitor that until my youngest is 18 is the normal duration of spousal maintenance payments. so thats 6 years from now. Anyone have a view based on their experience? Thank you.
There is no fixed rule for duration of spousal maintenance - it depends on the circumstances of the case.
In the most extreme cases it can be for life - typically where it has been a long marriage and one is high earner and other is unable to work again ever e.g. due to a disability.
On short end it could be for a couple of years transition period to help the recipient stabilise their income / complete training etc.
The amount and length of spousal maintenance is also related to the split of assets - i.e. if you have a good amount of assets and can do a deal where she gets more than 50/50 then you can get a Clean Break or at least reduce the SM element of the deal.
A key factor is your wife's realistic prospect of earning income in the next 15 years. She should be expected to work full time if she is able.
The SM is intended to fill the gap between her outgoings and income - after she earns all she can through work / tax credits etc.
Ending SM when the youngest child is 18 is in practice not ideal. Because at around that same time she will lose her Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Child maintanance payments - so to lose SM at the same time means that there will be a big cliff edge drop in her income at that time.
The negotiations should be aiming to avoid such a cliff edge.
If you need more individual advice you could call our helpline on 01202 805020 and ask about our Consultant service that is designed for people who cannot afford a solicitor.