If you can’t agree how much should be paid, or whether payments will be made at all, the partner who believes they need financial support can apply to the court for what’s called ‘aliment’.
Applying to the courts for aliment
You can apply to the courts for an order for your ex-partner (husband, wife or civil partner) to pay aliment if divorce or dissolution proceedings are under way. A court will look at whether the person claiming aliment needs the payments, and whether the person being asked to pay can afford them.
Take advice from your solicitor about whether this type of application is worthwhile. If you are unsure about your ex-partner’s financial position, and he or she doesn’t have the money to pay you, you may end up spending money on court and legal fees for no reason.
What you need to apply to the courts
If you decide to go ahead and apply to the courts, you’ll need to provide a short written statement setting out your financial position including:
- Your capital
- Any debts you have
- Your earning capacity
- Details of what you need on a day-to-day basis in the short term
- Your present income including your earnings, money received from your ex-partner, and any state benefits
The court decides whether aliment should be awarded - and if so, how much - by looking at all the circumstances of the case.
This includes looking at the overall amount of money available as well as how much the person being asked to pay interim aliment could earn.
It won’t just look at how much income that person has. This can be useful if one of you has a low level of income, but has considerable assets (such as a profitable business).
Aliment comes to an end once your divorce or dissolution is finalised.
Child maintenance is something you can arrange as soon as you separate. It is normally paid to the parent who the child lives with for most or all of the time by the other parent.
You don’t need to have finalised your divorce or dissolution to arrange child maintenance.
There are several different ways that you and your ex-partner can agree child maintenance. See How to arrange child maintenance.