Men can do it too

Jamaica Gleaner - - LAWSOFEVE -

ANY READ­ERS might have seen the ar­ti­cle on in which it is re­ported that Mary J. Blige’s hus­band is seek­ing US$129,000 – the equiv­a­lent value of a small apart­ment in Ja­maica – per month for spousal sup­port.

Among her hus­band’s monthly ex­pense, there is US$8,000 per month for a pri­vate chef, US$5,000 to main­tain chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous union, US$3,200 for a per­sonal trainer and US$21,677 for char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions!

In Ja­maica, be­cause each claim for spousal sup­port is de­ter­mined on the ba­sis of its own merit, the real is­sue is whether there is suf­fi­cient le­gal ba­sis for the claim. Rather than be­ing alarmed by the amount that is be­ing claimed, let us con­sider what fac­tors a Ja­maican judge would need to con­sider in a spousal-sup­port claim.


The par­ties’ means and abil­ity. The par­ties’ present and fu­ture as­sets and means.

The ap­pli­cant’s capacity to con­trib­ute to his or her own sup­port.

The capacity of the other spouse to pro­vide sup­port.

The ages and state of men­tal and phys­i­cal health of both par­ties and their capacity to be­come gain­fully em­ployed.

What steps can be taken for the ap­pli­cant to be able to pro­vide his

IIIIMor her own sup­port, and how long and how much it will cost to en­able the ap­pli­cant to take those steps.

The con­tri­bu­tion of each party to the other’s life.

The qual­ity of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the depen­dent and the re­spon­dent.

How long the re­la­tion­ship lasted.

Con­tri­bu­tion to the re­la­tion­ship and how the ap­pli­cant’s eco­nomic circumstances changed dur­ing the re­la­tion­ship.

Whether the ap­pli­cant as­sumed re­spon­si­bil­i­ties dur­ing the re­la­tion­ship which af­fected that spouse’s earn­ing capacity.

The ap­pli­cant’s needs, with ref­er­ence to the stan­dard of liv­ing to which he or she had be­come ac­cus­tomed dur­ing the re­la­tion­ship.

Any le­gal obli­ga­tion of ei­ther party to pro­vide sup­port for another per­son.

Any con­tri­bu­tion made by the ap­pli­cant to help the other spouse to re­alise his or her ca­reer po­ten­tial.

The ex­tent to which the pay­ment of main­te­nance to one spouse would in­crease that spouse’s earn­ing capacity by en­abling him or her to un­der­take a course of ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing, or to es­tab­lish him­self or her­self in a busi­ness or oth­er­wise to ob­tain an ad­e­quate in­come.

The home­maker con­tri­bu­tion.

IIIIIIIIIIWhether the ap­pli­cant was a home­maker.

The ef­fects of the ap­pli­cant’s child-care re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on his or her earn­ings and ca­reer de­vel­op­ment.

Does the ap­pli­cant have to care for a child of 18 years of age or over who is un­able to care for him­self?

The de­sir­abil­ity of ei­ther party stay­ing at home to care for a child.

Any other sources of in­come or sup­port.

IIIIIWhether there is any pro­posed or ac­tual or­der in re­la­tion to the par­ties’ prop­erty un­der the Prop­erty (Rights of Spouses) Act.

The el­i­gi­bil­ity of ei­ther spouse for a pen­sion, al­lowance or ben­e­fit un­der any rule, en­act­ment, su­per­an­nu­at­ing fund or scheme, and the rate of that pen­sion, al­lowance or ben­e­fit. Both men and women are en­ti­tled to make claims for spousal sup­port,

IIand this long list, which is by no means ex­haus­tive, shows that the de­ci­sion to award spousal sup­port is not a sim­ple one.

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