Hi found this excellent site and am hoping that some of you more experienced folks could help me out.
I have done some of my own research, and have learnt the basics but still am unclear on a few points.
How will having a new partner impact my settlement?
(I am highish earner NRP, ex is PWC with 1 kid)
Situation: I am now with a new partner and need to know:
1) Does our situation count as cohabiting?
She stays with me most of the time (about 3/4), but also spends 1/4 of the time where she used to live (i.e. with her Nan). What defines co-habitation?
2) If so then does her income come into the equation?
I earn a good salary and so am expecting to have to pay CM and SM. Wife doesn't work. I have been told that NP earnings/assets only come into play if they reduced my needs. Well she (NP) earns a very modest sum (70/week) from part time work, so really only earns enough for her own needs (cigarettes, make-up, girl stuff etc). So does that mean that it wont be a factor in the judges mind when he decides on asset split and SM.
3) Can they take into account her earning capacity?
Could they say that NP is perfectly capable of earning 300/week and so say my needs really should be met in part by the income she could be making?
I recall a murder mystery on the telly ( it was aeons ago )
where an ex wife receiving maintenance was done in, and the ex was an obvious suspect as it was rather a drastic way to terminate his maintenance liability. In fact the ' villain ' was his new wife, and when arrested she complained bitterly, " Do you realise I have to pay that woman one third of my earnings ? "
That certainly wouldn't be true now and I doubt whether it ever was, but I'm pretty sure that your ex or stbx cannot be forced to contribute directly. As you say, the Courts do consider whether it reduces your expenses and frees up more of your income. For example, if you moved in with a rich widow with an opulent house with no mortgage, the fact that you were getting, in effect, free accommodation, would mean you could afford to pay more. That is the theory, at least.
In your case my gut feeling is that it would be neutral - it wouldn't matter much either way, if at all.
As to what constitutes cohabitation - well, that's a right can of worms !
In your case I would think that a Court would say you are cohabiting. When someone has two homes, it is sometimes necessary to decide what the main home is. It can matter, for example, in deciding which home gets mortgage tax relief. Most people would say your main home was where you spent the most time - not always, for example you might have someone who lived 5 days in London and spent the weekend in, say, the Cotswolds, and he would probably regard the latter as ' home ' - but in your case your NP might expect to spend some time with her gran anyway, for other reasons, and it doesn't follow that she can't be living elsewhere.
The cohabitation issue usually matters more where it is the recipient of maintenance who is cohabiting, and that can do all sorts of funny things, like reducing her maintenance or even triggering a sale of the FMH. But That's academic as far as you're concerned at the moment. Every case is different.
As to the issue of earning capacity - I admit I don't know. My inclination would be to say not. If you can discharge your obligations to your child(ren) and your ex, then that is all she has a right to expect, and if you are content that she should only work part time, that is between the two of you and is none of your ex's business. But I am less sure about this and would suggest you check it with your solicitor.
That is probably enough for one post and I must dash off to a wedding rehearsal. No, it's not me. I have been engaged to play Here Comes The Bride, etc. We could tell him a few things, couldn't we ?????