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Variation of child maintenance

  • Rickysf
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17 Sep 12 #356271 by Rickysf
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Hi all, when divorcing 4 years ago I agreed to split the total child and spousal maintenance 50:50. Because I am fortunate enough to get paid well this resulted in me paying child maintenance way in excess of the CSA cap (which takes into account net income of a maximum 2,000 gbp per week). The x and her solicitor were clever as when she remarries/cohabits her maintenance will stop but the very high level of child maintenance continues. All this was done through a Consent Order with no need for court rulings. The csa was not involved in the process.

I have read on other posts that once the Consent Order has been active for over 12 months I am able to apply to the csa to have them calculate the child support I should pay. Using their formulaic approach would bring down the amount I pay by a decent amount (and still more then cover their costs). If I did pursue this, would my x be free to simply go to court and ask for a "top up" to bring the revised child support plus the "top up" back to the amount I originally agreed? If not, I suspect she could then try going back to court to revise her spousal maintenance up to compensate for the reduced child maintenance.

I am not trying to short change the x. She''s now working (but I''m unwilling to pursue a variation downwards at this point as she isn''t earning a lot and I may not be successful if we go to court) and the amount I am paying her is a huge amount each month. She won''t go hungry, far from it (and of course the kids will still continue to want for nothing).

Any thoughts?

  • maisymoos
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17 Sep 12 #356272 by maisymoos
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You are right that after 12 months you can apply to the CSA and allow them to assess the amount payable for child maintenance this would then make the Child Maintenance part of the Consent Order invalid. However you are also right in saying that your ex could then apply for a variation in spousal maintenance. Has anything changed in either of your financial positions? If the overall maintenance your wife receives was based on need and her income reduces I would have think she may have a good case for a variation to spousal maintenance upwards to make up any shortfall, especially if your financial position remains the same.

  • Fiona
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17 Sep 12 #356275 by Fiona
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If you earn more than the CSA £2k/week capped amount the courts have powers to order top up payments and you may not be any better off applying to the CSA.

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17 Sep 12 #356279 by Rickysf
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Thank you both for your responses. I think it makes sense to wrap up changes in spousal m and child support into the one conversation when I am made redundant (almost inevitable within 6 months or so). Just trying to think of ways to reduce payments overall. When she started full time work she agreed to reduce her maintenance then changed her mind having spoken to a solicitor. She knew that I would have to go through a lot of pain and expense (as would she) with a court outcome as always a lottery. But, once I get the bullet in this ruthless industry I work in I''ll be applying for a reality check as soon as possible!

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17 Sep 12 #356281 by Poppy P
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Ricky
You need to check carefully the wording of your Consent Order. It may be that you have a Connell/segal order which basically means if either of you go to the CSA to change child maintenance then the spouse maintenance would adjust to reflect the original amount.
Poppy

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17 Sep 12 #356285 by Rickysf
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Hi Poppy. Thanks for the post. No such wording exists but I suspect that she would simply attempt to bring her maintenance up to keep the total cash she receives the same. I''ll wait until my circumstances to change before trying to amend anything.

  • Fiona
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17 Sep 12 #356286 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
If circumstances change and you are made redundant you can apply for a variation or negotiate a reduction and change the order "by consent." Whether or not there is a Segal order the important thing
is not to take a unilateral decision to reduce the amount or not to pay.

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