Following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership in Scotland, spouses have an obligation to support each other financially, based on what is reasonable in the circumstances. This form of financial support is known as aliment. Aliment is only payable whilst parties are still married or in a civil partnership. Once decree of divorce, or dissolution of a civil partnership has been granted, financial support in the form of aliment would stop. When determining whether aliment should be paid, or when trying to calculate the level of aliment that is reasonable, the following matters must be considered:
1) The needs and resources of the parties;
2) The earning capacities of the parties;
3) All other circumstances of the case.
Once decree of divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership is granted, if ongoing financial assistance is required by one party, in limited circumstances, the Court may order that they are entitled to continuing monthly financial support or their spouse may simply agree to continuing financial support. This form of financial support is known as periodical allowance and is less common, particularly as the law in Scotland aims to achieve a clean financial break between separating spouses.
Periodical allowance can only be awarded by a Court for a maximum of three years after divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If you are unsure of the financial implications of your separation, please contact our Family Law Department who will be able to advise you on the position based on the specific circumstances of your case.
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