Last week we blogged about Amber Heard and the alleged violence she suffered at the hands of her husband, actor Johnny Depp. Since the making of a restraining order against Depp, Amber Heard has now filed for spousal maintenance from him assessed by her lawyers at $50,000 per month, the equivalent of £34,500.
The figure is based on her ‘basic’ expenses such as rent at £6,900 a month and the same each month on holidays, gifts and entertainment. At this stage, it is not known what the outcome of these proceedings will be. Although this case is being heard under US law, the law in England and Wales also allows a spouse to claim maintenance against the other.
In this country, when determining whether long term spousal maintenance should be paid to a particular party, they will consider a number of factors including the length of the marriage, the needs of the parties, the earning potential of both the paying and the receiving party and the standard of living during the marriage. Like the case of Heard and Depp, a short marriage does not necessarily mean that she would not succeed in securing maintenance from her husband and in this country, the court can look at the lifestyle enjoyed by the parties, however extravagant.
The court will also look at how much disposable income the paying party has available to him/her once all their “basic” expenses have been paid. Often clients are confused by the term “maintenance” and assume that this refers to child maintenance. Child maintenance is paid by a non-resident parent for the benefit of the children of the family and is usually governed by the Child Maintenance Service and not by the court. Spousal maintenance refers to maintenance paid to one spouse by the other for their own benefit, not for the children. Often spouses will pay child maintenance and spousal maintenance.
Resolving the finances of a marriage in a divorce can be difficult. The law in this area can be complex and you may wish to seek legal advice early on to ensure you are fully aware of all your options. At Hunter & Uro Solicitors, we will help you protect what’s important. Contact us for a 30 minute free consultation. Serving Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes, our lawyers can help you with your family law and divorce matters.