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What Is A Maintenance Pending Suit?

View profile for Shamin Ali
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I have had to deal with a number of these applications and thought it would be useful to explain what a Maintenance Pending Suit is and the purpose of such an application.

This application falls under the Matrimonial Causes Act section 22 1973 and is made when:

“within proceedings of divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation, the court may order one spouse to pay maintenance and for such term, being a term beginning not earlier than the date of the presentation of the petition and ending with the date of the determination of the suit (i.e. the decree absolute) as the courts thinks reasonable”


The purpose of this application is to meet the Applicant’s immediate needs and to meet the short term cash flow problems which arise during divorce proceedings. This is a concern in particular for the wife who, for example, has been the home-maker and her husband is the one who is the main wage earner, and wife has been totally reliant upon the husband.  Such an application would fill the gap until financial matters can be agreed by the parties or determined by the Court.


A statement, a draft order and a detailed statement of means should be filed with the application.

Both parties run the risk of cost orders being made against them (i.e. where one party is liable for the other party’s costs) in such an application.

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