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Maintenance

Maintenance in legal terms effectively means financial support and this can be in relation to a spouse or a child.

Maintenance for Child

The law provides that it shall be the duty of a parent to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of his or her children, whether they are in his or her custody or the custody of any other person, and whether they are legitimate or illegitimate, either by providing them with such accommodation, clothing, food, and education as may be reasonable having regard to his or her means and station in life or by paying the cost thereof. The duty of parents to maintain a child continues until they reach 21 years of age. However, in certain circumstances, this obligation may be ordered to continue even after the child turns 21.
The Court, when ordering maintenance for a child will have regard to all the circumstances of the case including taking into consideration the following factors:
  • the financial needs of the child;
  • the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child;
  • any physical or mental disability of the child;
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the child; and/or
  • the manner in which the child was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected the child to be educated or trained;

Maintenance for Spouse or former Spouse

The court may order a man to pay maintenance to his wife or former wife, or order a woman to pay maintenance to her incapacitated husband or incapacitated former husband during the course of any matrimonial proceedings or when granting or subsequent to the grant of a judgment of divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage.
In determining the amount of any maintenance to be paid by a man to his wife or former wife, or by a woman to her incapacitated husband or incapacitated former husband, the Court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following factors:
  • the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family; and
  • in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
In deciding the amount of maintenance, the court endeavours to place the parties, so far as it is practicable and, having regard to their conduct, just to do so, in the financial position in which they would have been in if the marriage had not broken down and each had properly discharged his or her financial obligations and responsibilities towards the other.
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