A five-part toolkit for those faced with family breakdown in the lockdown – Part Three

6 May 2020

By Brenda Spain, Head of Family Law team

Couples should try talk to each other wherever possible, to try and reach agreement and face up to finances from the outset. This has become even more important in the current situation, if stand-offs are to be avoided.

Over the course of this week I am sharing a series of five articles covering various aspects of divorce and separation as well as things to consider especially under the current lockdown.

Today’s topic is:

Maintenance arrangements

Unlike the capital element, which I discussed in yesterday’s article Progressing divorce in the COVID-19 pandemic, if you are earning less money during the crisis,
or have lost your job, it may be possible to ask the court for a variation on payments under a maintenance order where there has been a material change
in circumstances. Going back to court can be a costly procedure and the best starting point would be to see if you can reach agreement between the
two of you, while exploring other sources of income and benefits.

It’s worth appreciating that a fall in income may not justify a change in arrangements, as maintenance is needs-based and the needs of both parties and
any dependent children will be evaluated.

If you are the one receiving maintenance payments and you lose other sources of income during the current crisis, such as your job, then you can ask for
a variation due to changed circumstances but the court will first expect you to take reasonable steps to secure other sources of income, such as applying
for relevant Government coronavirus schemes. If it’s likely to be just a temporary situation, then have a conversation and put everything in writing.

Do take advice, whether you are paying or receiving, and avoid getting into a situation where you are in breach of a court order without having tried to
resolve the problem.

Check back in tomorrow were I will be addressing Co-parenting under the COVID-19 crisis.

In case you missed them Monday’s article covered: Deciding whether your relationship has run its course
On Tuesday we discussed: Progressing divorce in the COVID-19 pandemic


If you would like any further information about our Family Law services, please contact a member of the Family Law team on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk.

Please be assured we are open for business, our team are working remotely supporting, helping and advising our clients and we are happy to receive new

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.