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What You Need to Know About

Wife and Children Maintenance

1. How does Court determine Wife Maintenance?

In determining wife maintenance, the court is empowered to assess primarily on the means and needs of the parties, regardless of the proportion such maintenance bears to the income of the husband or wife as the case may be, but shall have regard to the degree of responsibility which the court apportions to each party for the breakdown of the marriage.[1]


[1] s. 78 of Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976

As such when determining wife maintenance the court would assess the means and needs of the parties the court has always had regard to the:-

(i)    duration of the marriage;

(ii)   the age of the parties;

(iii) whether the husband had financially supported the wife during the duration of their marriage

(iv)  the parties earning capabilities; and

(v)   whether the divorce would have affected the husband's position financially.

Wife maintenance is to place a spouse in a position to enjoy the same standard of living as she had during the existence of the marriage.

2. How does Court determine Child(ren) Maintenance?

In assessing how much a parent shall maintain or contribute to the maintenance of the children, the court shall take into consideration the means and station in life of the parents.

The Court may at any time order a man to pay maintenance for the benefit of his child:-

(a) if he has refused or neglected reasonably to provide for the child;

(b) if he has deserted his wife and the child is in her charge;

(c) during the pendency of any matrimonial proceedings; or

(d) when making or subsequent to the making of an order placing the child in the custody of any other person.

3. Can a Wife or Children entitle for Lump Sum Maintenance?

Our law does not expressly provide power for the court to award the wife lump sum maintenance. However, our court has confirmed that the power to make wife maintenance is not confined to periodical payments only as s.77(1)(a) contains no restrictive or prohibitive words to disallow award of lump sum maintenance,

The law has made it clear that there will be no lump sum maintenance awarded to children.

4. What if the Husband/Father stops his financial support before or during divorce?

The husband/father is still accountable to paying everything that he was paying provided that the Wife has made the right application in court to claim.

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