Joanne Major, Principal at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists, responds to a weekly question and answer column in the Journal today as follows:

Dear Joanne,

My husband has told me that he is leaving me, we have been married for 20 years and we have 3 children between the ages of 3-15, they will remain living with me. I am not working, he pays all the bills and has a very good job. How do I get money from him to pay the bills and mortgage if he doesn’t pay?


Dear Helena,

There are two types of maintenance that might apply in your case. The first type is for the children, see if you can reach an agreement with your husband about the maintenance he pays, this is called a “Family-based arrangement”. If you can’t, then you can access the Child Maintenance Service, there is an initial application fee of £20. Look at the Child Maintenance Options website for information about both these options. If your husband is a very high earner the court can also order additional maintenance for the children.

The second type of maintenance is called “spousal maintenance”, this is money for you. To find out if you are entitled to this in addition to child maintenance you should speak to a family solicitor. You will be expected to claim all applicable state benefits and tax credits before applying for a spousal maintenance order, make sure you look into this straight away.

Joanne Major is the Principal at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists, 12 West Road, Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne. T: 01661 82 45 82 Twitter: @majorfamilylaw