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Digby Brown Family Law
11 January 2017 by Roger MacKenzie
One of the most stressful situations for someone facing divorce can be where they suffer from ill health or infirmity which has left them financially reliant on their husband or wife.
This can also apply where people get divorced at a later stage in life and where perhaps it is more difficult to get back on the career ladder.
A spouse has an obligation to maintain their husband or wife while they remain married. There is a duty to provide aliment, which might take the form of a monthly allowance. Or one party could agree that the other will keep meeting all the household bills and provide an amount on top of that to cover other monthly outgoings.
It can be a good idea to both draw up a schedule of income and outgoings at an early stage.
Sometimes a court will have to decide what represents a reasonable amount to pay in the circumstances, but usually people can agree, each with the help of a solicitor who knows about family law, what is fair in any situation.
It is also important to look into what benefits might be available after separation.
On divorce, the obligation to maintain a spouse will sometimes end completely, or will expire after 3 years. This reflects the desire to achieve what is sometimes referred to as the clean break principle.
But there is an exceptional category of cases where a court could order long term financial support to be paid.
First of all, there has to be a division of the matrimonial property. This would include things like equity in property and pensions accrued during marriage.
While assets are usually split on an equal basis, one party’s inability to work might allow an argument to be made for them to receive more than a 50% share.
Even if one party receives half or more than half of the assets, if the divorce is going to cause them financial hardship, a court could also decide that they should be provided with ongoing maintenance (known as periodical allowance) for a longer period of time. While not commonplace in divorce settlements in Scotland, long term support can assist in alleviating financial distress in limited circumstances.
Divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership can be a stressful and emotional experience.
We will provide help and guidance tailored to your circumstances about how you may wish to deal with the challenges ahead.
The collaborative process recognises that a painful, high conflict divorce can have long-term damaging repercussions for you, your family and wider friends.
Collaborative law steers you away from court.
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that can protect your interests and assets before you enter into a marriage or into a civil partnership so that, in the event of a divorce, the agreement can be used to help settle any future disputes over who is entitled to what.
Moving in together can be an exciting time. As more and more couples take this step, a cohabitation agreement can be essential to protect assets and regulate who pays for what over the course of the relationship.
The legal position is often much less clear cut than divorce and strict time limits apply to bringing any claim arising from the end of a cohabiting relationship, so it is important to get legal advice at the earliest possible stage.
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