Maintenance how long 2
It is possible to build in a “step-down” at a certain point. For example a court could order that there should be maintenance of £1,000 per month for 5 years and then a further 5 years at £500 per month.
From the Husband’s point of view, the thing to bear in mind about a term order is that it is variable. In other words, a term order does not give the Husband the certainty he might like. If the order is for say, 5 years at £1,000 per month, the Wife could come back to court at any time during the 5 years and ask for the order to be varied. She could ask for the 5 year term to be extended. She could also ask for the £1,000 per month to be increased. For this reason a Husband is likely to ask a court which orders term maintenance to impose a “bar” (see below).
Term order with a bar
Sometimes the Husband will be prepared to pay maintenance for a term e.g. 5 years, but will want to be certain that the Wife will not come back to court to increase the term of the order e.g. increase to 10 years.
Under section 28(1A) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 the court can impose a “bar”, that is an order that the Wife shall not be entitled to apply for the term to be extended.
Again, how likely this is to happen depends on the facts of the case. If there are young children it may make the imposition of a bar less likely.
On the other hand, it is common when considering cases for judges to say: “I think there should be some maintenance, perhaps in the short term, but on the other hand I think the Husband ought to have some certainty to be able to go and earn some money after that, so there should be a bar.”
One point to consider is the effect of inflation. Where an order is for a long time, e.g. a term order for 10 years or more, it may be wise for the Wife to seek an order that the amount of maintenance is increased for inflation at regular intervals.