I just received a settlemt proposal which contains the following:
"due to the disparity in our client''s income and your income we would propose that a nominal maintenance order of £1 per annum is made in our client''s favour until xxxx(Son''s name) reaches the age of 18"
Could someone please explain what this means and what the implications are? Is there a way to avoid this ''nominal maintenance''?
Hi, what they are trying to say is that think you are the higher earner or higher potential earner and that a s a safe guard for the child involved you are asked to pay nominal maintenance. It usually means that the claimant can go back to the payee should their cicumstances change dramatically i.e that the payee suddenly starts earning a lot more money or that the claimant suddenly loses their job and their income reduces dramatically.
It basically keeps the option open of further Directions to maitenance in a court application.
So basically the divorce is hanging over my head all the time until my son reaches 18? Surely if I am paying over and above what the CSA say I should pay then there should be no reason to attempt to claim more money, if they did involve the CSA then they''d lose money!
Is this a way for my stbx to make future claims if she needs money for whatever reason? e.g. If I turn up in a new car she could take me to court and ask for money becasue I am seen to have money?
What if I plough cash from earnings into my pension and savings, could she turn up when my son is 17y 11m and say ''lets see what you have got becasue I want some''?
I would prefer not to have this, are there any ways around it? My son will always be provided for and she knows how I dote on him so that is not an issue.
No it definataley wouldn''t be a case of your ex trying to claim on you just before your child reached 18. No court would accept that, as she would have clearly managed until that point.
What it normally means if there is a great disparity in your incomes from the date the order was agreed and say 2 years later you suddenly started earning say another £50,000 pa, then yes, she may be entitled to claim spousal maintenance. This doesn''t mean you have to tsart hiding your money, as the situation would be assessed now - it''s not like you would have to submit a yearly bank report ro analysis.
Also, this has nothing to do with the CSA - that is a separate issue.
Unfortunately as they say, "that''s life". A nominal spousal maintenance order is very common when there are children involved. A court will often insist on it because it gives the child security.
She cannot vary the SM simply because she wants to, or wants another bite at the cherry. There must be significant changes in your circumstances and SM must be applicable given the new circumstances. The longer time goes by (ie. the longer she has managed without it), the smaller her claim will be.
How she would know your earnings have increased? Well, if you''re paying through CSA then your CM payments would go up. But otherwise, I guess, she wouldn''t know and therefore wouldn''t make a variation claim.
As for negotiating a way out of it, yes of course while it''s all at this stage (voluntary negotiations) you can negotiate whatever you like/can. Your ex may be willing to forego the nominal maintenance claim if you can wrangle it, or if you throw her a sweetener like more equity/assets. But if she will not move on the issue then it''s not worth you losing too much ground over. If you cannot come to agreement and it goes to court, you will most likely get a nominal SM order like it or not, and when it''s imposed by a judge you can''t negotiate.