Firstly a bit of background to my situation. I have recently left my wife after 15 years of marriage. We have 2 children age 7 and 10.
I am currently living in a shared house where it is not possible for me to have the children to stay. I have always been a highly involved Dad and not being able to have my children to stop with me is really hard. I am trying to get money together to be able to rent property that will allow me to have the children to stay.
My ex wife is being quite difficult she had has been helpful in one respect and I have plenty of contact with my children (2 evenings one afternoon and 7 hours on a Saturday) but seeing them for 2 or 3 hours in an evening is not the same as being able to put them to bed and wake up with them.
This leads me onto my question first. I earn a modest wage £1250 per month and my ex wife doesn''t currently. My wife has provided me with a document that she tells me her father has had drawn up with a ‘solicitor’ (though I have no information that proves this is the case).
In this document she is requesting £260 a month for the children (roughly in line with CSA) which I am very keen to pay, as well as 50% of other costs relating to the children, which if discussed I am happy to cover.
My issue is that she is also asking for £260 for spousal maintenance. During our marriage we live beyond our means and have not assets apart from the family home. I am trying to rent a property so that I can have my children for a couple of nights a week, but being expected to pay what will amount to almost ½ my income to my ex wife so she can maintain things the way she wants will not leave me enough to cover living expenses.
I was wondering if anyone could confirm whether my understanding is correct that no matter what the circumstances I would have to earn somewhere in the region of £2000 to pay any SM at all?
All I want to do is to be able to afford a good future for me and my girls that allows me to contine you to be as good and as involoved as a Dad as I always have been.
Well, there''s no rule that you will not be expected to pay spousal maintenance if your income is less than a certain figure. I think that Dukey once heard a judge say that £2000 p.m. was a reasonable income for a single man and anything more than that was up for grabs.
Where money is tight, as in your case, you will have to pay the CSA of course, but you should be left with enough to meet your needs and if that is insufficient then your wife will need to have recourse to benefits.
If your net income less child support is less than £1000 a year then I would not expect you to pay more than a nominal sum in SM. She needs to investigate her benefit entitlement and this should include housing benefit so she can rent a home for herself and the children.
Personally I would not sign this document. What you pay in child support is laid down by law and there is no need for such a document.
Ditto what mike said, there are no rules or formulas, it''s all about reasonable needs of the lower earner and the ability to meet those needs of the potential payer, I did hear a judge say £2000 was a reasonable need for the payer at a final hearing but then each case is based on it''s own merits, it can''t be taken as a bench mark.
You have a modest income and will need to rent so after paying CM you won''t have any disposable income to pay SM even if you wanted to pay.
The only binding agreement is a court sealed Consent Order, even so I agree with Mike don''t sign anything for now.