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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My husband left me and is filing . How do I go about

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My husband left me and is filing for divorce. How do I go about asking for spousal maintenance? We have no children and no joint assets, I have no money and suffer from depression.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have been married for 10 years, but in a relationship and living together for 16 years. We both left successful IT careers to pursue creative ones, with the agreement that we would always financially support each other even if one of us was more financially successful than the other. I work as a freelance classical musician and make very little money (none since he left as I have been severely traumatised and depressed), he is a successful screenwriter and earns large fees and royalties for each piece of work he does.At the end of 2014 we discussed a separation, but instead agreed to stay together and work on the marriage and go to couples therapy together. A few weeks later my husband said he was going to just leave to be with a woman he had been seeing for 2 months. We agreed to remain living together for another 3-4 months in order to deal with the house we were renting (which we had no termination clause for in the rental agreement), to pack up/sell/move our 16 years worth of belongings and for me to find myself another place to live and get myself on my feet. However, he did not stick to any of these agreements and instead left immediately after agreeing the 3-4 month adjustment period. We also made some financial agreements which he did not keep. He left me to deal with all of our 16 years worth of belongings and legal and financial obligations and refused to help clear out the house or deal with anything.I have contributed greatly to his career as a writer which he agrees with, but never asked for any credits (which anyone else would have received for the work I did), because as his wife and partner I wanted to help protect and build his reputation. As a result, he has a successful writing career and many connections in that field and I have not even a single credit to put on a CV.Dealing with the fallout of this emotionally and financially has left me with no money, in fact hugely in debt and just borrowing to get by. I don't have the fees to file for divorce myself so he has agreed to do it. But I need to know if I am entitled to spousal support and exactly how I go about applying for it as I am pretty desperate now.
Hi, thanks for your question. Initially a financial settlement should be attempted either through negotiations or mediation (you can find independent mediators here: If a settlement is agreed this can be submitted to court under a consent order (together with a D81 form outlining your respective financial positions)If mediation does not progress you should then proceed with an application to court under Form A for financial relief. This would include consideration of all your assets (this includes savings, investments and pensions) and financial position, as well as your needs, as well as his financial position and needs and the court will decide what is fair when considering the following criteria:1. 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, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
Hi, this question remains open. If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harris, thanks so much for your reply it's really informative. I was hoping for specific information on applying for spousal support though. How exactly the claim is made. That's the information I haven't been able to find. In other words, the form D81 or form A that you mention briefly - that's what I'd like to know about, how I get them and what to do with them and when. Do I need to use a solicitor for these forms or can I lodge them myself and at what point etc? If I file for the divorce myself do I need to add those forms immediately, or if I receive a petition from my husband do I do it then? Thank you for your help. Jodie
No worries at all. Once a divorce petition is issued by the court either of you can submit a Form A for financial relief proceedings to commence. However, you would need to initially attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (called a MIAM) by yourself to see if mediation is suitable to attempt to settle the matter - if it is not suitable the mediator will sign you off and then you can pursue the application to court under Form A. The Form A is very straightforward and you can issue it yourself to the same court that issued the divorce petition together with a £255 court fee. However, as the proceedings progress you would likely need legal advice as it can get more complicated later.If mediation is suitable and you reach agreement then you need to turn the agreement into a consent order and it is highly advisable that a solicitor does this as it is a legal document, at this time a form D81 is completed to outline both your financial positions for the court to assess that the settlement is fair.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Harris, thanks so much that's really helpful. Wishing you all the best. Jodie