My fiance (getting married in october) has been divorced for 4 years (married for 7), with 2 children (aged 7 and 10). he has always paid both child maintenance and spousal maintenance. Now that his circumstances have changed (we are buying a house together, and want to have children as soon as we are married), we want to stop the spousal maintenance (currently the full amount of the mortgage). We of course would continue to pay child maintenance. Now that the ex-wife has been told these proposals, she is up in arms caliming she will not be able to pay the mortgage on her own. My arguement is that she could now be working full time (she only works 20hours a week) as the children are at school and take some responsibility for her own finances. My fiance has been trying to get the Consent Order sorted out since their divorce so that she would have to pay some of the mortgage, but she has been stalling for a year now - not signing letters etc. My fiance even saw a letter from her solicitor recommending that she delay agreeing as she wouldn't have to pay up until she did! She would owe him thousands if made to pay the arrears. What do you think are the chances of the court agreeing to stop or at least reduce the spousal maintenance? My fiance earns c £50000, she earns c.£8,000 (20hours per week). we will have a new mortgage of £1,600. The mortgage on her home is about £120,000 - repayments £750/month. She gets approx £600 per month for the children.
Thanks for your help
Much depends on the current agreement. I cannot quite understand from your post what the current agreement is. Is there currently a Consent Order? If there is then it will state the term for which the payments have to be made and it should also state the circumstances which will trigger changes in the payments. If none of the agreed triggers have been met then your would have to apply to the court for a variation to the order.
The basis for the court deciding whether to stop the payments is your fiance's ex-wife's needs and your fiance's ability to pay.
If her needs have not changed - and he can still afford to pay - it will be a challenge to reduce/stop payments.
You need to make a very good case for why she is now able to earn a substantial income (and from an 8000 current income itwould take quiet a leap for her to become self sufficient).
One avenue you could explore is to get a good idea on what income she could make once all available benefits and tax credits are taken into account. Its quite suprising how these benefits can boost a low income liek 8000 to something closer to 20000.