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Orders before or after the decree of divorce


There is no scientific formula to determine financial relief for the parties.

The judge has a wide discretion to make a decision based on statute and case law in light of the evidence.

Even before divorce proceedings are completed the court can require either party to the marriage to make periodical payments for the maintenance of the other. {{more}} This is called maintenance pending suit. That party must however prove neglect of the other party to provide or to make a proper contribution towards reasonable maintenance for that party. Maintenance for a child of the family can also be given before the divorce is completed.

Before or after the decree is made absolute the court could make an order for either party to the marriage to make to the other such periodical payments or a lump sum. Periodical payment may not be extended beyond the death of either spouses and could be until the remarriage of the party receiving it. It could also be for either party to the marriage to pay to another person such periodical

payment or a lump sum for the benefit of a child of the family.

The court can order periodic payment or lump sum for the spouse to meet any liabilities or expenses reasonably incurred. It may also do so for the benefit of a child of the family. It could order the lump sum to be paid by installments. It could order the sale of property belonging to the spouses to meet the payment.

Financial support and custody of child

The law is very supportive of children. It would not make a decision in matters dealing with divorce without considering dependent children. In fact it directs that first consideration be given to them in divorce matters.

A child of the family is a child of both parties and any other child who was treated by both parties as a child of their family during the marriage. Adopted children are therefore included.

The law describes a minor as a child under eighteen years and it orders maintenance for a child up to this age only if that child is receiving instruction at an educational institution or undergoing training for a trade, profession or education or in special circumstances. Otherwise maintenance discontinues at age sixteen.

Under section 65 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, it can make an order for custody and education of a child up to age eighteen in a divorce proceeding and nullity of marriage (in a future article) or in cases of neglect.

In deciding financial relief for a child the court must consider all the circumstances of the case.

According to section 35 of the Matrimonial Causes Act it must also consider the financial needs of the child; the income earning capacity of the child, the income capacity (if any), property and any financial resources of the child; any physical or mental disability of the child; the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage and the manner in which he was being and the manner in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be educated or trained.