‘A Practical Guide to Spousal Maintenance’ by Liz Cowell


Paperback: 978-1-912687-15-2
Published: June 2019
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SKU: B0093 SPOUSALMAINTENANCE Categories: , Tags: , ,


This book provides the context as to why the Family Court in England and Wales approaches awards of maintenance in the way that it does.  The law remains as set out in Section 25 (as amended in 1984) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  The book looks at why there have been so many apparently different approaches as to its implication since 1973.  It includes a review the history of maintenance in this jurisdiction to give a context as to how we arrived at the current state of practice as set out in the 1973 Act.

Also discussed are the significant changes in society since the first statute allowing the courts to award maintenance namely the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857.

Finally, there is a review of current judicial thinking and approach on this difficult aspect of the financial remedies available following the breakdown of marriage, with consideration being given to the international context of spousal maintenance.


Liz Cowell has over 30 years’ experience in the practice of Family Law.  For the past 6 years she has lectured on the subject of spousal maintenance in the jurisdiction of England and Wales to fellow Family Practitioners.  She has had experience of sitting on the Child Support Act Tribunal and has sat as a Deputy District Judge since 2000.  Her interest in the Family Court’s approach to spousal maintenance was sparked following anecdotal research done during the noughties which demonstrated that there was a wide difference in the approach to spousal maintenance across the jurisdiction followed by a Resolution conference on the topic which further highlighted the problems that many practitioners were encountering.  At the same time, she had built up a practice assisting clients with problems with the Child Support Agency (as it was then) and subsequently, she assists parents with respect to issues concerning the Child Maintenance Service.


Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – History
Chapter 3 – The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (“MCA 1973”)
Chapter 4 – The Statute and the Rules
Chapter 5 – Maintenance Pending Suit and Interim Periodical Payments
Chapter 6 – Applications Pursuant to Section 23 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 for Periodical Payments of Maintenance
Chapter 7 – The Clean Break Problem
Chapter 8 – The Problems Surrounding Sharing the Payer’s Income
Chapter 9 – Needs Are Elastic
Chapter 10 – Bonuses and How They Affect Maintenance
Chapter 11 – Cohabitation
Chapter 12 – Variation of Periodical Payments
Chapter 13 – Capitalisation
Chapter 14 – The Treatment of Bonuses in Financial Settlement
Chapter 15 – Pensions
Chapter 16 – Bankruptcy
Chapter 17 – The Child Support Act 1991