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Spousal Maintenance Payments and the Coronavirus Pandemic

21st April 2020

Covid-19 has taken over everyone’s daily lives and is a worrying time for many, especially as the financial consequences grow. Many are being furloughed, taking a reduction in wages or being made redundant, affecting many family’s finances.

If you are either paying spousal maintenance or in receipt of this, it can be especially worrying.  It may be that if you are receiving these payments from your former spouse, you may be approached to vary these if their income has been affected. 

Before you consider varying these, you should first ask for proof of your former spouses’ change in circumstance, this could be a letter from their employer advising of the change to their income or redundancy.


It is advisable to take a pragmatic approach to this, as this is a worrying time for everyone and to communicate clearly with each other about your respective financial circumstances.

You may wish to consider varying the maintenance payments down for a set period of time, for example, the next three months.  Or if your former spouse’s position requires it, to stop these payments entirely for a set period.

These negotiations can be done through a third party, such as solicitors or a mediator if communications become fraught.

Should a Court application become necessary, it should be considered that the Courts have vast powers to vary spousal maintenance payments, increasing or decreasing depending on circumstance.  It may even be considered by the Court as to whether you are ready for a clean break, and maintenance payments are stopped altogether. 

The Court’s first consideration will be any child under the age of eighteen that is supported by either party, after that the financial resources, obligations and current standard of living of both parties will be taken into account.

If you have any concerns about spousal maintenance payments, we are able to arrange telephone appointments to discuss this.  Please contact our Office on 01442-216755 or and we will be happy to assist.

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