If a spouse has stayed at home looking after the children and given up a career to do so, the courts look at a range of issues. A mother who has not been employed for 20 years will not be expected to go straight out and earn a living. Issues such as the job market in her locality will be considered. On the other hand, if a spouse has skills which lend themselves to getting a job or she could get training, that will also be taken into consideration. If maintenance is awarded, it is not normally for life unless there are special circumstances. Maintenance orders can also be varied if there is a change in circumstances – if, for example, the husband loses his job or the wife loses her job, both can apply for a variation of the order.
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