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Application for variation of spousal maintenance

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17 Aug 12 #350137 by spooky
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Hi,

My ex has suggested that spousal maintenance be reduced from £800 PCM to £1.

He is saying that he wants to go half time at his very well paid job and so will be unable to pay SM anymore.

The original divorce settlement was made in 2002 and is joint lives. I did not get a pension share and was not working at the time as had 4 kids at home. The limited marital assets were used to pay for a deposit on a home for me and the kids and then I used the SM to pay the mortgage.

He took me to Court 4 years ago to reduce/ dismiss SM ( I self repped) and his arguments were dismissed.

He has now applied again, although has offered mediation, but without a mediator! I stated that I could not accept such a drastic reduction but he has now asked for a meaningful offer to settle out of court.

He is self employed within a partnership so is a bit "slippery"" with disclosure.

He is saying that he has an outstanding tax bill of £40,000 so will only be earning £8000 next year if he goes half time. I really cannot believe this.

He says that he is unable to capitalise.

I am now working full time and earn 25k gross. I still have 2 kids at home in full time education and 2 at Uni.

At the case 4 years ago the District Judge did not accept his argument or figures ( much the same as now but slightly reworked) I was working then but still paying for a property to house the 4 kids. Although 2 are at Uni they still require a family home.

He has sent me a copy of his application but it is not on a Form A and he has listed me as the Petitioner. It is 4 pages long and as usual he has told the court what they should do!

Does he need to apply using a Form A or will the court use what he has applied with?

I was going to offer a reduced amount until the last of the children left Uni but have had conflicting legal advice.

My x has said that although he will mediate he will accept nothing but the reduction he has asked for!

Any advice would be gratefully received. I will self rep again but have a funny feeling he will too.:S

X

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17 Aug 12 #350143 by maisymoos
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I am not sure choosing to reduce his income will bode well in court.

Saying that is your need for that level of SM still valid now you work full time?

I don''t think anyone can second guess what a judge would do.

Offering mediation without a mediator!!! is just bonkers!! and even if you reached an agreement would it still not be necessary to go back to the court to have the original order changed?

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17 Aug 12 #350147 by cookie2
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Yes, voluntarily reducing working hours for no reason will not wash with a judge.

Has he actually applied to court? It doesn''t sound like it. It sounds like he is just trying it on. I would tell him that you will only accept a variation if ordered by a court.

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17 Aug 12 #350160 by spooky
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That had crossed my mind as well Cookie as I was under the impression that applications had to be made on a Form A.

Surely if he made the application he would be the Petitioner?

He is saying that he is trying to avoid burn out. I have spoken to some of his contemporaries who say that they work on average a 35 hour week and get paid around 100k net.

I would be a little more sympathetic if he was nearing retirement but he is 47 and seemingly in good health..

It would seem to me that this may be another ruse to reduce his financial committment. He has a good lifestyle, big country house, horses, Porsche and a plane!

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17 Aug 12 #350162 by cookie2
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Yes I would expect it to be on a form A too if he had actually applied. He would surely just photocopy it and send it to you. Maybe when/IF he really does apply, you can settle before it goes all the way to the end. But until then I would not worry about it, simply say no to his proposal.

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17 Aug 12 #350166 by spooky
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Would a court be sympathetic to his outstanding tax committment?

If you are self employed surely you should factor this in and put that money aside?

If he has a tax obligation of £40,000 he must have earned a sizable salary.

If he persists with the burn out argument will he have to produce evidence? As I said before his main employment committment is in the region of 35 hours per week. He has 6 weeks annual leave pa and every 3 years he and his partners take an extra 6-8+ weeks sabbatical.

He has asked me to make an offer- isn''t it him who is supposed to do the negotiating?

He says that he can''t capitalise but I am sure that I read somewhere that he could capitalise from his hefty pension even though there was no pension sharing at divorce, is this correct?

I am naturally a little apprehensive as this will be the 14 th court application that he has made!

Many thanks

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17 Aug 12 #350168 by cookie2
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If he owes £40k then he owes £40k. It does not matter whether the court are sympathetic or not, it will be a drain on his finances either way. So yes it will affect his available cash and that may affect how much he can afford to pay you.

Burn out, he can dream on. No judge would accept this. The judge would tell him to quit whining.

Don''t make an offer, just say you expect him to continue paying at the level set by court, until a court makes a variation. Clearly if he has made 14 court applications he is realizing that it is fruitless. So he is trying another tactic, which is to get you to agree to a voluntary reduction. Don''t fall for it.

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