Well, it's nice to have a post from someone with a happy marriage !
In the old days this sort of thing seemed to happen quite a lot ; ex spouses in receipt of maintenance went back to Court every year for an increase and usually got it, and the payer was left with more to pay and a bill for his ex's costs to add insult to injury. It was as much part of life as the annual trade union wage negotiation. This doesn't seem to happen these days because of the practice of index linking spousal maintenance. The obvious first question is whether the maintenance you are paying is index linked, either directly, or indirectly because it is linked to salary, like child support, so that if your income rises the payments rise in line with it.
Your ex has learned the hard way that applying for a variation in maintenance can rebound on the applicant, and this undoubtedly discourages many applications, unless you can be sure that your case is pretty watertight, as it would be if the payer is retiring.
It may sound obvious but I think you are stuck with the order unless and until it is varied - but the order itself may provide for the payments to cease in certain circumstances, like for example your children attaining majority. I'm not sure if it is good tactics for you to ignore any application your husband's ex might make.
I feel fairly sure that your analysis of the current situation is correct. Once your child support payments drop off, you obviously feel the benefit, and why not ? It will undoubtedly help your case if you have, as you say, kept up the payments, because, let's face it, lots of people pay ducks and drakes with maintenance orders.
I feel pretty sure, madam, that there are provisions in the Court rules which enable a Court to crack down on the occasional crank that one does encounter from time to time. That might, for example, take the form of an order which would prevent your husband's ex making any applications without leave of the Court.
But I must stress, I have been retired for some time, as this old-timey stuff will probably suggest, and my knowledge is years out of date.
There is, however, one worry that I have and it looks something like this. That is, I, like you, think that the name of the game is that you still pay what you pay now, but it goes to her rather than your child(ren). Now it just could be that your husband might have been ordered to pay more, if he could have afforded it.
If his child maintenance
payments drop off, she might argue that he can now afford to pay more. Not knowing anything about your circumstances, I can't comment either way. I personally think it would be grossly unfair to your husband if he got no benefit at all from the reduction in his child support. But I can't rule out the possibility that a Court would share the reduction - part to your husband and part to her.
But you can't be the first person in this situation. It must happen all the time. I would have thought that a solicitor experienced in family law would have at least a general idea of how the Courts deals with situations like this.
I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment, but how do you react to this ?