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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.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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Can I get more maintenance

  • janey63
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21 Mar 12 #319347 by janey63
Topic started by janey63
My ex husband has managed to have my maintenance cut, he now pays me 1/4 of what he used to.
The new order says "the applicant''s claims for periodic payments are dismissed and all arrears remitted".
Does this mean that I cannot get any more spouse maintenance ever again, even though the order made at the time of divorce was for "joint lives"?
But can I still go back to court in the future for increase in child maintenance?
We have one child aged 15. The new order says my ex husband has agreed to keep paying an amount for their benefit (but this is a way lesser amount than what was agreed when we divorced).
When we got divorced in 2006, we had an order for "joint lives" and I was told by my solicitor at the time of the divorce that this meant my ex husband would have to pay until he retired at least. I thought that this meant the order would remain for "joint lives" and so when I applied for the amount of maintenance to be increased I assumed it would be as the cost of living has gone up.
My ex husband is now remarried so his costs have gone down surely, and yet he has managed to 1/4 his maintenance payments, please can someone advise whether I can get the money increased again.

  • Fiona
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21 Mar 12 #319356 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Apart from the cost of living were there any other changes? Did either of you have salary increases or promotions? Do you cohabit? Does your ex''s new wife work? Do they have any children?

With applications to vary spouse maintenance the courts look at the financial circumstance afresh and there is always a risk that the outcome for an application to increase SM will be a reduction or termination of the order. If your claims have been dismissed you can''t make any more claims to spouse maintenance in the future unless there are grounds to appeal the decision.

To appeal successfully it would need to be shown that the judge had made an error of fact or law or gave a perverse judgement that no other judge could have reasonably made.

A child maintenance agreement can be included in a Consent Order but normally the courts have no powers to impose an order for child maintenance or a variation. A year after the date of a consent order either parent can apply to the CSA and the order in relation to CM ceases to have any effect.

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21 Mar 12 #319364 by janey63
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No salary increase was shown. My ex husband is self employed.
I do not cohabit and I do not work. I gave up work when our child was born and have now not worked for 15 years, that was my choice as I wanted to be a stay at home mother.
His new wife is very highly paid, drives a brand new car etc.
They don''t have any children together.
Yet it seems from what you say I can''t appeal the decision to have my maintenance back?
I do not understand what is the point in having a joint lives order if it can be stopped after just a few years?
I contacted the CSA a while ago to see if I could get more money that way, they asked for his tax forms etc which he sent them, they then wrote back saying that he earns small wage, and only has to pay me £20 a month. That is ridiculous. He does continue to pay me the amount set by the court, he has not paid the £20 for the CSA as well, they said he doesnt have too, as he is paying what the court have said. But are you saying that after one year he can stop paying what the court have said?
What are the circumstances for the courts imposing an order for child maintenance or a variation please?

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21 Mar 12 #319366 by sillywoman
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Thats disgusting. Whats the point in having an agreement if it is so easy to get out of?

It appears that your ex husband, as he is self-employed is saying that his income has gone down and therefore cannot afford to give you what was agreed in the Consent Order.

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21 Mar 12 #319368 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
It could be that what was agreed in the consent was more generous than a court would have awarded in the first place. Earning potential is also a factor. Usually the terms for a joint order concludes "or further order of the court" which allows for the order to be varied, capitalised or terminated. As I said above there is is always a risk spouse maintenance will be reduced or terminated. Did you not first seek legal advice?

Normally the CSA has jurisdiction for CM. The exceptions are when the non resident parent earns more than the CSA capped amount (currently £2k/week), there are step children, over 18s in education and one parent lives abroad. CM can be included in a Consent Order by agreement but the after one year your ex can apply to the CSA for assessment and the court order will cease to have any effect a couple of months later.

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21 Mar 12 #319372 by WhiteRose
Reply from WhiteRose
sillywoman wrote:

Thats disgusting. Whats the point in having an agreement if it is so easy to get out of?

It appears that your ex husband, as he is self-employed is saying that his income has gone down and therefore cannot afford to give you what was agreed in the Consent Order.


From what I understand from the post the husband didn''t want to ''get out'' of it - the OP went back to Court to get SM increased, all they did was re-assess and it was decreased.

I imagine that if the OP had not gone to Court to have it increased - the SM would still be paid at the initial amount set.

WR

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21 Mar 12 #319389 by WYSPECIAL
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The way I read it the OP asked for the Court Order to be reviewed.

My ex did a similar thing with the CSA and was equally aggrieved when the amount she was due went down drastically.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for!

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