What is an order for periodical payments?

In terms of divorce and separation, a periodical payment order is the term for spousal maintenance i.e. ongoing (usually monthly) payments made by one party to the other.  The Court has the power to order that periodical payments will commence upon granting of decree for divorce as part of the parties’ financial remedy proceedings.  Prior to that, the Court has the power to order ‘interim maintenance’ or ‘maintenance pending suit’. 

There is not a fixed calculator to guide the amount of spousal maintenance.  Whether the Court makes a periodical payment order and indeed, the level of this maintenance depends on the circumstances of the case.   Fundamentally, when considering an order for periodical payments, the Court will need to determine: 

  • What are the parties’ incomes, or earning capacity; 
  • What does each party need; 

The Court will assess whether the payer has sufficient income to meet their needs, and whether they should make a regular payment to help the other party meet their needs.  The Court will then go on to assess the term of the payments.  They can be short-term orders to assist the weaker party to transition to independence, or long-term if such a transition is not possible.  An order for periodical payments may not extend beyond the joint lives of the parties or the re-marriage of the individual receiving the maintenance.

If you consider that you may be entitled to an order for periodical payments, or you may be liable to pay spousal maintenance, it is worth getting early advice from a lawyer about what a Court would likely order.  The level and term of spousal maintenance is one of the most complex and fraught types of application before the Family Court, and there are many types of financial orders that can be applied for.  

Our specialist Clerks can match you with a family barrister who best fits the demands of your case. Read our simple 4-step guide to instructing a Direct Access Barrister, then get in touch with the clerks in our central Brighton office who will be able to advise you on what to do next. 

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