Spousal maintenance is paid by the higher earning spouse to the other to meet their reasonable financial needs. It is only awarded if one party cannot support themselves without contribution from the other. Spousal maintenance can be awarded for a fixed term or for joint lives. It automatically terminates on the remarriage of the recipient. There is no magic formula: the amount depends on the income and outgoings of the parties and in particular the ability of the paying spouse to make the payments.
The court leans towards a clean break settlement so there are no ongoing obligations between the parties. Therefore, where there is sufficient capital available, a lump sum can be awarded instead of ongoing spousal maintenance. This approach enables each spouse to be financially independent of the other.
Temporary maintenance - "Maintenance Pending Suit"
Once divorce proceedings have been commenced, one party may need financial support before there has been a full investigation by the court of the parties' finances. An application for maintenance pending suit is a request for a temporary arrangement until the Court decides what will happen in the long term.