General principles—spousal and civil partner periodical payments
General principles—spousal and civil partner periodical payments

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • General principles—spousal and civil partner periodical payments
  • Quantum of periodical payments
  • Special needs of the parties
  • Legislative requirements
  • Implications
  • Clean break considerations
  • Types of periodical payments orders
  • Duration of orders
  • Term orders
  • Extendable term order
  • More...

The court’s power to order periodical payments is contained in section 23(1)(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) and Schedule 5, Part 1, para 2(1)(a) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), namely an order that either party to the marriage or civil partnership shall make to the other such periodical payments (commonly known as maintenance orders), for such term as may be specified in the order.

In determining whether or not a periodical payments order is appropriate, regard must be had to the checklist set out in MCA 1973, s 25 and CPA 2004, Sch 5, Pt 5. The most relevant factors in determining whether a periodical payments order is appropriate are:

  1. the income and earning capacity that each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future and, in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity that it would be reasonable to expect a party to take steps to acquire—see Practice Note: The income and earning capacity of the parties

  2. the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities that each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, together with the standard of living enjoyed before the breakdown of the relationship—see Practice Note: The needs of the parties

  3. the age of each party and the duration of the relationship—see Practice

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