Spousal maintenance is one of the orders that a court can make upon divorce. The amount of the maintenance is agreed at the time of the order; however, as a result of inflation, as time goes by the value of the maintenance awarded will decrease if it is not reviewed. To save the possibility of a yearly dispute with your ex-partner regarding the amount of any increase to the maintenance provision, a provision for an automatic annual variation can be included within the financial agreement. It is common for this automatic variation to be linked to the increase in the Retail Prices Index (RPI).
If there is provision for a yearly increase in line with the RPI within your court order, the individual in receipt of the maintenance is to carry out an annual calculation based on the change to the RPI in the preceding 12 months. Whilst this may sound complicated, the calculation itself is quite straightforward once you have established what RPI figures you need. These can be obtained from the Office for National Statistics website: or by contacting them on email@example.com.
The calculation is as follows:
To demonstrate the calculation I have provided the following by way of example:
Karen and John entered into an agreement on 20 March 2016 that John would pay maintenance of £500 per month to Karen. The maintenance was to be increased annually in line with the RPI.
In March 2018 Karen would need to re-calculate the maintenance using the same calculation above. As follows:
Karen would continue to review the maintenance provision each year using the above calculation until the maintenance term ends.
If you have obtained a financial order that provides for an automatic annual increase and you have any queries in respect of the calculation above please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss the same. Alternatively you may have accurately calculated the increase but your ex-partner has not increased his maintenance payment accordingly. I can provide you with some guidance as to the options available to you for enforcing the increase in the maintenance payment and seeking any arrears that have accrued.
If you are yet to reach an agreement with your ex-partner regarding the matrimonial finances and you have any queries regarding maintenance and the provision for an automatic increase please do not hesitate to contact me.