INTERIM MAINTENANCE CLAIMS IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS
When parties are in the process of getting a divorce, the financial constraints from the shift of a two-income household to two one-income households can be severe, especially when minor children are involved or where one party received a substantially higher salary than the other during the course of the marriage.
What a lot of people aren’t aware of is the fact that maintenance can be claimed for spouses as well as for dependent children and you also do not have to wait for the divorce to be finalized to claim maintenance from the other party in the divorce.
The High Court as well as the Regional Court has a mechanism wherein a spouse can approach the court for an interim maintenance order. In the High Court this is done under Rule 43 and in the Regional Court under Rule 58. The following can be claimed in an interim maintenance application:
- Spousal maintenance;
- Maintenance in respect of children;
- Certain care and contact over minor children;
- A contribution to legal costs.
An application for interim maintenance can also be brought at any time before the main divorce is heard by the court, it can even be brought before the divorce summons, which is pending, has been served on the other party.
The aim of the interim maintenance application is to provide speedy relief for spouses who are being placed in financial constraints as a result of the pending divorce and who will not be able to support themselves or the minor children without such an interim maintenance order.
The process to apply for an interim maintenance order is a fast process and the aim is to get the matter before court within a few months from the start of the application. The court then looks at the needs of the applicant as well as the feasibility of the person who is to pay the maintenance and bases their order thereon.
The order that the court makes in this regard is merely an interim order and the court in the main divorce proceedings has the discretion to confirm the order, amend the order if there is a change in circumstances or make a completely different order.
Contact our offices to speak to one of our friendly divorce attorneys should you require any assistance regarding an ongoing or pending divorce.