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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

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Benefits as Opposed to Spousal Maintenance?

  • Rain52
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27 Sep 12 #358109 by Rain52
Topic started by Rain52
Hi, I''m Lorraine and very confused. I applied for a variation of spousal maintenance 7 years on from my divorce because I am a Carer for my 20 year old daughter and I was no longer able to continue with my part-time job as my father was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease and both he and mum used to help out. I attended what was supposed to be the final hearing at Court, only to have the Judge decide that she needed to know more about the effect a maintenance order would have on both my benefits, i.e. Income Support and Carer''s Allowance and my daughter''s benefits, i.e. ESA Support related and DLA. She ended by giving an interim order, not for me, but for my daughter. I was so confused and frustrated, especially when my solicitor and barrister admitted that they knew very little about the benefits system and asked me to go away and find the answers to the above questions. So far, I have discovered that the DWP are not very forthcoming with answers to hypothetical questions. Can anyone advise me please?:S

  • LittleMrMike
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27 Sep 12 #358112 by LittleMrMike
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Lorraine
Well, now, I might be tempted to say, don''t get me started !! But I''m an old lag to to speak and rather jaundiced about the whole business.
I shall try ( with a great effort of willpower ) to avoid going into a rant, although really, how one can practise family law and know nothing about benefits is a mystery to me.
So, if you''re sitting comfortably, then I''ll begin, to quote those immortal words.
Benefits can be either means tested or not. A very profound statement, I know. But where benefits are means tested then any income you get ( including maintenance ) is deducted, pound for pound, from your benefits. Sometimes there are '' disregards '' which means that you can earn a bit on the side without your benefits being affected. I don''t know whether there still are.
Disability related benefits are sometimes not means tested at all, as is the case with attendance allowance/DLA. Carer''s allowance can be paid to people whose income doesn''t exceed a certain level.
The fact of disability can mean that your income support/JSA is higher than it would be because of what are known as premiums, higher rates of benefit for those who fall into certain categories.
But that is not the whole story. There is one trick which is well worth knowing, and it is this. Let us suppose a husband is ordered to pay maintenance of, say, £20 per week and this brings the wife''s income £2 p.w. above what she''s get in JSA.
There may be advantages is reducing the maintenance to £17 p.w. and the wife claims JSA of £1 per week. But she''s still worse off, you''d say. But not necessarily.
The answer is that if the wife is on JSA she can get other benefits, like free prescriptions and free school meals, that could be worth lots more than £2 per week. These tag on benefits are known in the trade as passport benefits, and they can be important.
They can be especially valuable with disability related benefits where there are a host of golden goodies like Motability and help for insulation grants.
So, there''s a start. But my advice to you is clear, the best place to go for benefits advice is a CAB. The problem is that benefits can change with one stroke of the Chancellor''s pen. But I hope what I have said gives you a general introduction to the subject.
LMM

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