What Rights Does a Nominal Spousal Maintenance Give?

Updated March 23, 2017

Nominal spousal maintenance can be a part of a divorce settlement. The court decides what this maintenance or periodical payment is going to be for the spouse upon divorce based on the needs of the spouse and the income of each party. This maintenance money can be paid by either the former wife or husband; it depends on the income level of both. This can be put in place for a payment of as little as 60p a month because of the beneficial rights that it gives the spouses getting divorced.

Active Claim

The reason that they put the spousal maintenance in place at such a low monthly payment as 60p a month is just to keep the case open with the courts and make it easier to make future claims. So if there is a problem later on, like one of the ex-spouses losing a job or having health problems, the ex-spouse can take the other ex-spouse to court to increase that nominal spousal support.

Clean Break

Having a nominal spousal maintenance payment avoids a "clean break" order. A clean break order cancels all ties between the divorcing couple financially. It means that there will be no responsibility to one another and you will not be able to pursue any maintenance in the future. Your divorce will be closed with the courts, and you will no longer have any legal dealings regarding your divorce.


Nominal spousal maintenance lends security to divorced couples even after they are divorced. If one spouse loses his job, he can apply for a raise in nominal spousal support; if one spouse gets ill, she can apply for a raise in nominal spousal support. They both have that financial security that they had during marriage without still being married. Spousal maintenance is terminated upon remarriage or death.

Income Claims

Having a nominal spousal maintenance claim allows you to lay claim to future earnings of your ex-spouse. Even if you are the ex-spouse initially making the spousal maintenance payments, if your ex-spouse gets a promotion or wins the lottery or in some way increases his income, you can lay claim to a portion of that money by taking him to court and petitioning for it.

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About the Author

Laura Nations started writing professionally in 2008 for Lost Girls World and "The Menagerie." She also has experience creating marketing materials for non-profit organizations like Surf City Animal Hospital. Nations holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.