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Making an application for maintenance pending suit (MPS)

December 10, 2021

If you are going through a divorce or dissolving your civil partnership, it is possible to apply to the court for maintenance pending suit (MPS) under section 22 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. MPS is monthly maintenance payments paid by the financially stronger party to the other party whilst the division of assets is still being finalised. It is also referred to as interim maintenance.  You can apply any time after issuing divorce or dissolution proceedings. If you cannot reach an agreement about the amount of the MPS payments with the other party, you can apply for the court to decide how much money should be paid to you each month.

The case of Rattan vs Kuwad [2021] EWCA Civ 1 provides guidance about making an MPS application and what the court will consider when making its decision. You must show that the payments are required to meet your immediate, rather than long-term, needs and although the decision will depend on each particular case, “immediate” in this instance just means that they are financial needs you have now before the financial settlement has been agreed.

The court will take into account the standard of living during your marriage, although obviously the other party may not have sufficient funds for you to both enjoy the same standard of living following separation.

To demonstrate your financial needs to the court, you need to show your monthly income needs, such as mortgage or rental payments, household expenses and your daily living costs. This may be done in the form of a specific monthly budget prepared for the MPS application or in a spread sheet as in your Form E financial statement when trying to reach an agreement about dividing your assets with the other party. You cannot ask the other party to meet your capital needs, such as to purchase a new car or new furniture. The court will consider whether your income needs must be assessed in further detail. In Rattan vs Kuwad, the wife was able to obtain MPS payments which covered their children’s school fees as they were considered to be an income need rather than a capital need.

You must be wary when applying for MPS, as the general rule in family proceedings that neither party pays the other party’s costs does not apply. Instead, if you are unsuccessful in bringing your application, the court can decide that you pay some or all of the other party’s costs.

Given the costs risks, you should always consider the alternative methods of dispute resolution to try to reach an agreement about the MPS payments, such as via mediation where an independent mediator will help to you reach an agreement (click here to read about MIAMs and the Key benefits of mediation), arbitration where an experienced barrister will act as a “judge” to make a decision about your case (for more information see this article: Arbitration) and collaborative law where both parties will attend group meetings with the other party and their collaboratively trained lawyers (read here for details about the Collaborative law process).   

Wallace Robinson & Morgan Limited are based in Solihull and Dorridge and serve clients across Birmingham and the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and further afield. Our team of Family Lawyers are happy to help if you would like advice about preparing divorce, dissolving your civil partnership, and dividing your assets following separation.

If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 0121 705 7571 and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team or email us at

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.